Collector - September 2016 - (Page 40)

CREDITORS What Creditors Need to Know About the TCPA The TCPA's requirements, especially after the FCC's 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order, create more rules for creditors and increase the need for communicating with third-party debt collection partners. By Katy Zillmer T he Telephone Consumer Protection Act has remained largely unchanged since it was passed in 1991, but orders from the Federal Communications Commission in recent years have increased the requirements for making calls. As a result, creditors are subject to the same rules as their thirdparty debt collection partners. What does this mean for you? It's important for creditors and third-party collectors to be on the same page about TCPA requirements and for creditors to know what calls they can lawfully make and to what number. ACA International Vice President and General Counsel Robert Föehl outlined these provisions for creditors during a session at the ACA International Spring Forum and Expo in March. "The FCC said the calls [placed] by thirdparty debt collectors on behalf of the creditor are treated as if the creditor called the consumer itself," Föehl said. "The creditor could be on the hook for that if the debt collector violates the TCPA." Although creditors need to obtain prior express consent from consumers for autodialed informational calls to wireless numbers, the FCC's 2015 TCPA Order included exemptions from this requirement for certain informational calls, such as calls about fraud alerts, security breach notifications and healthcare-related matters. However, the FCC also put specific restrictions on the calls and related messages creditors must comply with, "including being devoid of any marketing and debt collection content, and containing a way to opt out of future messages," Föehl said. It's important for creditors to understand the FCC's conditions on these calls, including: * Creditors calling consumers on their wireless number must state their name and contact information at the beginning of the call and not discuss marketing or debt collection information; * Calls have to be one minute or less or text messages have to be 160 characters or less; and * Creditors cannot leave more than three messages per event over three days and have to offer consumers a way to opt out of receiving the calls and messages. Creditors must honor opt-out requests immediately. "The good news is you might be able to take advantage of some of these exemptions, but the bad news is you've got to go through all these conditions and make sure that everything is buckled down," Föehl said. "If you miss one of these conditions, you lose your exemption and you're subject to liability." In its 2015 order, the FCC clarified that there is no distinction between telemarketing calls and informational calls. It's also important for creditors to understand service providers' telephone number acquisition and TCPA compliance processes. TCPA LAWSUITS SHOW A YEAR-OVER-YEAR INCREASE 238 MAY 2015 349 MAY 2016 SOURCE: WEBRECON 40 ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - September 2016

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
5 Ways to Get Electronic Payments Right
Making the Connection
Curious About Amicus Curiae?
Calendar
Honor Roll
Small Talk
Know the Score
What Creditors Need to Know About the TCPA
ACA Industry Advancement Support Helps Secure Victory for Collection Industry in FDCPA Case
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word

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