Email Collections: Do's and Don'ts

Association of Business Training
February 3, 2014 — 950 views  

Telephones and paperwork are a thing of the past. With the advances in technology, our communication options are progressing too. Responding to business colleagues and clients through electronic media has become a common occurrence. One field that has benefited from moving on to communicating through electronic media is debt collections. What makes it so beneficial is that it is an inexpensive medium of communication, along with which, there is an assurance of the message being delivered to the recipient immediately, which makes it far more effective when compared to how it was previously. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA ), specifies do's and don'ts for debt collectors to protect the debtor.

FDCPA Laws That Debtors Must Follow

The debt collector is expected to follow the rules mentioned under FDCPA, failing to do which, the debtor can sue him and file a case against him with the FTC(Federal trade Commission). While making debt collection, the collector cannot:

  • Contact debtors at an unusual time or place, the calls are to be restricted between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If the debtors work nights, they cannot be contacting during the day, and this can be treated as an inconvenient time.
  • Contact the debtor directly if they are aware of the fact that the debtor has an attorney
  • Contact the debtor while they're at work if the employer restricts the debtor from receiving such calls during work hours
  • Use violence or threaten to do so, to your debtors
  • Use profane or obscene language
  • Harm the debtors or another person, or their property or reputation, or threaten to do so
  • Publish the name of the debtor as one who isn't paying up bills
  • List out the debtor's debt to the public for sale
  • Make repeated calls or call without identifying yourself as a debt collector

Practices Regarded as Unfair by the FDCPA:

As per the FDPA, a debt collector cannot:

  • Add charges, fees or interests which are unauthorized by the state law or original agreement
  • Accept checks that are postdated by over five days, unless the debtor is notified 3-10 days beforehand, on when the check will be deposited
  • Deposit a check that is postdated, before the date mentioned on it
  • Solicit a check that is postdated, to threaten the debtor
  • Ask the debtor to pay up all the communication charges
  • Threaten the debtor to repossess or seize property
  • Put words or symbols on the envelope that is sent to the debtor, which signifies that it is one involving debt collections

Do's for Debt Collectors over Electronic Media:

  • Maintain an electronic database with your customer account information
  • Trace your debtor's location
  • Research on the debtor's employment details
  • Reporting to credit
  • Require authorizations for individual payments
  • Include options to opt-out in the correspondence

Don'ts for Debt Collectors over Email Collection:

  • Sending instant messages to communicate about debts
  • Sending friend requests to debtors on social media platforms.
  • Initiating payments that are unauthorized to the bank account of the debtor.

Association of Business Training