Does the Final Rule Have Third Party Communication Prohibitions? (§ 1006.6(d))
Yes. The Final Rule also prohibits certain third party communications. Specifically, a debt collector must not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than:
- The consumer;
- The consumer’s attorney;
- A consumer reporting agency, if otherwise permitted by law;
- The creditor;
- The creditor’s attorney; or
- The debt collector’s attorney.
There are certain exceptions to these prohibitions however, including: (i) for the purpose of acquiring location information, as provided in § 1006.10; (ii) with the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector; (iii) with the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction; or (iv) as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy.
The Final Rule additionally imposes a requirement of reasonable procedures for email and text communications to avoid a bona fide error in sending an email or text communication to a third party that would violation this subsection.
Does the Final Rule Regulate Communications Regarding Location Information? (§ 1006.10)
Yes. The Final Rule defines “location information” as a consumer’s: (i) place of abode and telephone number at such place; or (ii) place of employment. A debt collector communicating with a person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information must:
- Identify himself or herself individually by name, state that he or she is confirming or correcting the consumer’s location information, and, only if expressly requested, identify his or her employer;
- Not state that the consumer owes any debt;
- Not communicate by postcard;
- Not use any language or symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication by mail indicating that the debt collector is in the debt collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a debt; and
- After the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond to the debt collector’s communication within a reasonable period of time.
Moreover, absent certain circumstances set forth in the Final Rule, a debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer must not communicate more than once with such person.
Does the Final Rule Restrict Debt Collector Telephone Calls to Consumers? (§ 1006.14)
Yes. The Final Rule provides that a debt collector must not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.
This includes certain presumptions adopted for telephone calls. Under the Final Rule, a debt collector is presumed to violate the FDCPA if the debt collector places a telephone call to a person more than seven times within a seven-day period or within seven days after engaging in a telephone conversation with the person. By contrast, a debt collector is presumed to comply with that prohibition if the debt collector does not exceed the telephone call frequencies. There are three exceptions:
- Telephone calls placed with such person’s prior consent given directly to the debt collector and within a period no longer than seven consecutive days after receiving the prior consent;
- Telephone calls that do not connect to the dialed number; and
- Calls placed to certain professional persons.
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