The Urban Dictionary defines go time as, “When the time has arrived to undertake a task (often unseemly, difficult, or requiring courage), at which point there is no going back.” On Friday, July 30, 2021, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that Regulation F will go into effect on November 30th as originally planned and will not delay the effective date of the rule until January 2022. Well, there is indeed no going back but hopefully, the third-party debt collectors that will be impacted by the Rule have at least laid out their implementation road map.
Here is a quick refresh on some of the questions/topics that your road map should address:
CAN I LEAVE MY COMPANY NAME IN A VOICEMAIL FOR A CONSUMER?
If you are going to use the limited content message, then including “a business name for the debt collector that does not indicate that the debt collector is in the debt collection business” is one of the more complex components of the message that must be considered.
WHEN CAN I (OR CAN’T I) COMMUNICATE WITH A CONSUMER AT THEIR PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT?
There are a lot of moving pieces to POE communications, especially when you factor in employer-provided email addresses and mobile phone numbers.
HOW DO I ENSURE A CONSUMER’S CELL PHONE NUMBER HAS NOT BEEN REASSIGNED?
One of the safe harbor conditions for sending a text message is ensuring the phone number still belongs to the consumer by using a “complete and accurate database” to verify ownership.
HOW DO STATE-LEVEL COMMUNICATION RESTRICTIONS INTERACT WITH THE CFPB’S TELEPHONE CALL FREQUENCIES?
Some states/cities already restrict the number of attempts/communications that can be made over a specified period of time. Ensuring these requirements are aligned with the CFPB’s new call frequency limits is critical.
HOW SHOULD I HANDLE DUPLICATIVE DISPUTES?
The Rule allows debt collectors to decide whether a dispute is “substantially the same” as an earlier dispute submitted by the consumer.
WHICH ITEMIZATION DATE SHOULD I USE?
The Rule permits debt collectors to choose from five different itemization dates to use on the validation notice.
WHAT ACTIONS DO I NEED TO TAKE BEFORE I CAN REPORT A CONSUMER’S ACCOUNT TO A CREDIT REPORTING AGENCY?
Debt parking (aka passive debt collection) is a major area of concern for both the CFPB and FTC. The Rule is specific to what needs to occur before an account can be reported.
Although there is significant literature available on the Rule, navigating the waters of regulation can be confusing (and sometimes frustrating!). Connecting with the right partner to assist with interpretation and applicability to your organization will help prevent misinterpretations that might leave you non-compliant.