The federal agency that is tasked with protecting consumers recently issued final amended regulations intended to protect consumers from unfair debt collection practices and give them additional rights. The agency is called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") and has, in the past, issued a set of rules commonly known as "Regulation F." Earlier versions of Regulation F were implemented by the CFPB to establish rules for how debt collectors can communicate with debtors under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). See 15 U.S. Code § 1692. See here for CFPB news release.
If you have been the victim of oppressive, unfair and/or harassing calls and contacts by a debt collector, you have rights and can sue. The FDCPA allows victims of debt collection abuse to sue and collect money damages, statutory damages and attorneys' fees. You should call experienced and aggressive Debtor's Rights attorneys like those here at Guardian Litigation Group.
Some key amendments to Regulation F include:
- Only seven calls in seven days: The new regulations provide that any more than seven unanswered calls within a seven day period is a presumptive violation of the FDCPA
- No calls within seven days after an answered call: If a debt collector has a telephone conversation with a debtor, any calls within the following seven days is also a presumptive violation of the FDCPA
- Opt out of certain methods of e-communications: Debt collectors can use various types of e-communications like emails and texts, but consumers have the right to opt out of such use
- Opt out methods: Consumers can use the same method of e-communications used by the debt collector to place a "cease communications" request
- No "magic" words to opt out or demand communications cease: The amended regulations restate and clarify that consumers do not need to use any particular words or wording to opt out or demand that communications desist
- No publicly viewable communications through social media: Debt collectors can also communicate through social media -- like Facebook -- but not if the message can be viewed by the general public or the debtor's "friends" and "followers" or by others; posting in a publicly-viewable manner is a presumptive violation of the FDCPA
- Deceased debtor's representative is a "consumer": If a debtor passes away, the debtor's estate representative is deemed under the amended Regulation F to be a "consumer" and entitled to the same FDCPA protections that the debtor had before death
- All types of communications are covered by FDCPA: The amended regulations clarify that the FDCPA’s prohibition on harassing or abusive conduct applies to all forms of communications such as emails and text, not just telephone calls and letters
- Limits on selling or placing for collection: The amended regulations make it a presumptive violation of the FDCPA for a debt collector to sell or place for collection a debt if debt collector knows the debt has been paid, settled or discharged in bankruptcy; "knows" is defined as actual knowledge or "should have known"
- And more
As can be seen, the amendments to Regulation F add significant protections for debtors and now cover social media and e-communications in the same manner as telephone calls and letters. This is good news for those needing relief from abusive debt collectors.
Contact an Experienced Debt Relief and Debtor Rights Attorney
For more information, contact the Debtor's Rights attorneys at Guardian Litigation Group. We have the tools and experience you need. Our Mission is to provide unparalleled legal services and support to financially distressed individuals. We can be reached via our contact page.