Comments and interpretations will abound but for now, a bright line has been drawn by the CFPB’s long awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). According to page 62 of the 538 page NPRM:
“The proposal would enable a debt collector to transmit a limited-content message by voicemail, by text message, or orally. Debt collectors may be most likely to use these methods to send limited-content messages, and these methods may be most likely to generate a response from a consumer. The proposal would not enable a debt collector to transmit a limited-content message by email because, as discussed below, email messages typically require additional information (e.g., a sender’s email address) that may in some circumstances convey information about a debt, and consumers may be unlikely to read or respond to an email containing solely the information included in a limited-content message (e.g., consumers may disregard such an email as spam or a security risk)."
Permission-based emails are an exception.
The obviously well-researched document also refers to 7,700 collection agencies in the U.S. While it appears overstated, they all should make themselves known by commenting on this watershed legal landscape change.