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CFPB’s Final Debt Collection Rules 2020: Initial Takeaways

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Last week, the CFPB released their final debt collection rules to implement the FDCPA (all 600 pages of it!)  As we breathe a sigh of relief along with the rest of the industry, we wanted to share our initial takeaways.

Our Top 4 Initial Takeaways From The CFPB's Final Rules

Takeaway #1: You Have A Year To Prepare

The final debt collection rules will not be added to the Federal Register for another year. This gives debt collection agencies plenty of time to develop a strategy for how they want to proceed with these new rules in mind. If your agency already has the tools in place to start utilizing all the technology that is now available, experts say there is little to no harm in complying with the rules early.

Takeaway #2: Intentional Contact Will Be Key

What seems to be the theme with these new rules? Make less, more meaningful contact with consumers.  

The final debt collection rules state that agencies may contact a consumer no more than seven times in seven days, and once every seven days after that.  

Harassment – a heavily contested and often arbitrary tool for a lawsuit – is now defined once and for all. There is no longer any grey area. This means that with the number of contact attempts now predetermined, debt collection agencies should continue to be thoughtful in the way they reach out to consumers.

Takeaway #3: Your Toolkit Just Got Bigger

For debt collection agencies who are already using texting and email,  you have been given the green light to continue using those forms of communication (so long as you include opt-out instructions.)

In addition to texting and email, agencies were also given permission to use direct messaging on social media platforms (with the opt-out instruction.) This is relatively unexplored territory, but we believe as consumer preference changes, this could equip agencies to reach consumers in the way they want to be reached. (Especially younger demographics.)

Takeaway #4: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

We at Arbeit are advocates for more pleasant conversations.  We believe that, if employed responsibly, the final debt collection rules make room for much more pleasant conversations. Consumer preference can now be taken into consideration to it’s fullest extent. If a consumer wants to handle their debt via their Facebook messages, there is now space for that.

There are plenty of options to get in touch with a consumer. But this doesn’t necessarily mean agencies should now flood every single one of a consumer’s communication channels with messages about their debt – no one  would respond well to that, and it would certainly not elicit a pleasant conversation.

As we continue to process what this rule’s implementation will look like, and adopt our product’s accordingly, we will always advocate for pleasant conversations. These will most likely stem from understanding the consumer on the other end of the line to the best of your ability and now having the freedom to reach them how they prefer to be reached.

Note: This blog is not intended to be legal advice and may not be used as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Every effort has been made to ensure this information is up-to-date. It is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area and should never be used to replace the advice of your own legal counsel.