The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau updated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. As noted on the CFPB’s website, under the Debt Collection Rule that went into effect on November 30, 2021, bill collectors may send you electronic communications.
Collection agents may now contact you through email, text messages and social media. They must, however, provide you with a printed or electronic debt validation notice and identify themselves as debt collectors.
A debt validation notice must contain specific Information
The CFPB requires validation notices to contain written information that allows you to determine a debt’s accuracy. Notices must include the debt collector’s name and address, the creditor and your account number.
Validation notices must also specify the amount owed and outline the payments that a creditor applied to your account including fees and interest. A debt validation notice must offer you a way to dispute the debt and include a form to do so. You may tear off the form and send it back to the debt collector.
Collection agents must identify themselves on social media and on the phone
As reported by USA Today, debt collectors may send you private or direct messages on social media. Messages, however, must include a bill collector’s identifying information and offer an option to unsubscribe.
The CFPB’s updates allow collection agents to make phone calls to debtors, but they may only call you up to seven times within seven days. They must also identify themselves. The CFPB’s changes do not, however, place limits on how many times debt collectors may communicate through email, text messages and social media.
As long as they identify themselves as debt collectors, send validation notices, and offer a way to unsubscribe, agents may contact you electronically as many times as they wish. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, however, prohibits collectors from sending threatening, false or abusive communications.