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Rule would allow more creditor contact

A rule proposed recently by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would allow debt collectors to contact consumers in Texas a lot more frequently. Collectors could make phone calls up to seven times each week and they would be allowed to send unlimited emails and text messages. Once collectors speak to the consumer though, they would not be allowed to call again for one week. This rule change would represent the first major update to the CFPB rules in 40 years.

According to an attorney who works with the National Consumer Law Center, the rule would open the door to contact through existing channels that debt collectors have not utilized. She said people should know they have the right to tell collectors how to contact them and they can revoke their consent to be contacted.

The CFPB received more than 80,000 complaints about the actions of debt collectors during 2018. Consumer groups say the proposed rule would give companies a lot of benefit while not helping consumers. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed in 1977 and has not been updated to reflect changing technologies. It does not mention text messages or emails, for example, but it does limit other actions of debt collectors.

People who are dealing with creditor harassment or struggling to pay down debts may consider bankruptcy protection. An attorney might be able to help by explaining the differences between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. When a bankruptcy petition is filed, creditors are restricted from contacting the debtor at least on a temporary basis.


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