RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Updated rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now allow debt collectors to email, text and direct message borrowers on social media.
The changes come from the new Debt Collection Rule. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act already made it illegal for them to harass or threaten you about a debt.
It’s not a free for all, however, there are rules those companies need to follow.
The CFPB said collectors need to provide an opt-out option when they contact you.
That option needs to be “a reasonable and simple method to opt-out of such communications at a specific email address or telephone number.”
The consumer is also allowed to use the method of communication used by the collector to request that communication stop.
What collectors have to do
When reaching out through text, email or social media, the debt collector has to identify themselves.
They cannot lie about who they are. Their social media request to friend or follow you must also come with identifying information.
Collectors need to provide an opt-out option when they contact you. That option needs to be “a reasonable and simple method to opt-out of such communications at a specific email address or telephone number.” Be wary of a link.
Before reporting you to a credit rating agency, the collector needs to speak with you in person or wait at least 14 days after sending a letter or virtual communication.
What collectors can’t do
Debt collectors can’t publicly share your debt information.
Communication has to be private. For example, their communication with you cannot be posted on your Facebook wall or tweeted out to you.
They can’t call you more than seven times in seven days. They also can’t call you within seven days of speaking with you on the phone about your debt. This rule doesn’t apply to how often they can contact you on social media.
What you can do
If you suspect the collector is breaking the rules or you’re having any other issue with them, you can file a complaint by calling the CFPB at (855) 411-CFPB (2372).
You can also file one online by clicking here.
If you’re contacted by someone, you have the right to ask them for information as well. The CFPB says you should ask for specifics on the following:
- Identity of the debt collector, including name, address, and phone number
- The amount of the debt, including any fees such as interest or collection costs
- What the debt is for and when the debt was incurred
- The name of the original creditor
- Information about whether you or someone else may owe the debt