Collector - December 2017 - 30

codes every day when necessary, grouped
according to disaster.
For example, when Irma hit Florida, USPS
suspended some services to South Florida
a week ahead of the storm to give residents
time to evacuate, and parts of the MiamiDade area and Lower Keys didn't get mail
service back for almost two weeks afterward.
Debt collectors subject to the FDCPA
cannot reasonably assume the intended
recipient will receive the validation
notices or other communications they
sent to suspended ZIP codes until the
mail delivery suspension is lifted, so
it's important to keep up with these
restrictions. Additionally, airport closures
can affect mail delivery as well.

This caution also applies to phone calls.
It's wise to have procedures to identify area
codes that may be affected by a natural
disaster, and instruct your collectors not
to dial telephone numbers that fall within
any of the identified area codes or block
autodialers from dialing such numbers.
This is especially important since
under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot
call consumers at times known to be
inconvenient-a vast understatement when
it comes to the impact of a natural disaster.

FROM A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
As a debt collector, you'll want to be
sensitive to consumers' plight after a
natural disaster. If they live in an area

Want to Learn More?
Dive into more compliance-related information in
the ACA SearchPoint™ document, "Natural Disasters
& Collection Efforts," at:
www.acainternational.org/searchpoint.
Check out the latest USPS service disruption alerts:
http://bit.ly/1MoF25s.
Keep tabs on current FEMA-declared disaster areas:
www.fema.gov/disasters.
Read ACA members' experiences drafting their own disaster
recovery plans in the cover story from our June 2017 issue:
online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201706.

30

where residents are solely focused on dayto-day survival, calling about a past-due
debt or waiting for them to call you might
be a waste of time. Be prepared to adjust
your internal policies and procedures
so consumers are not inconvenienced
or harassed, ensuring the most efficient
method of collection during such a
difficult period.
There is a public relations concern here as
well. Even if you are not legally obligated to
suspend collection efforts in a certain area,
think about how you will be perceived if
your actions are reported on in the media.
This kind of attention is the last thing your
agency-and your client-wants.
If you're dealing with a known weather
event, like a storm, you'll need to become a
bit of an amateur meteorologist even before
it occurs, when consumers might be busy
preparing or on the road evacuating. Keep
up with weather reports for the area and
news about how people might be affected.
Gulf Coast Collection Bureau Inc. in
Sarasota, Fla., suspended calls the Friday
before Irma hit.
"We started out that Friday making
outbound calls, but quickly realized
consumers' minds were not on their past due
debts-they were preparing their families to
be safe," said Jack W. Brown III, president.
"So we suspended all outbound calling
starting that afternoon, and didn't resume
outbound calling to the affected areas for
several days after the storm passed."
Similarly, before Hurricane Harvey hit
Texas on Friday, Aug. 25, meteorologists and
city officials had been warning residents and
businesses of the potentially catastrophic
weather event, urging people to take the
necessary steps to prepare. That Friday,
Universal Fidelity LP in Houston suspended
letters and calls to consumers and closed
early, sending employees home to hunker
down for the storm.
"Right off the bat, we froze the whole
state [of Texas] because we knew everyone
was going to be focused on this," said
Jessica Hearn, owner, CFO and compliance
director. "Even if an area wasn't directly
affected, many cities-even in other states-

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.acainternational.org/searchpoint http://www.bit.ly/1MoF25s https://www.fema.gov/disasters http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201706 http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - December 2017

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
Stronger Together
Taking a Layered Approach
Lines of Communication
Calendar
Honor Roll
Collective Intelligence
CFPB Issues Final Rule for Small Dollar Lending Market
Ask the Experts: Training Advice
Court Rules Voicemail is a “Communication" and Disclosing Name of Collection Agency Provides “Meaningful Disclosure” Under FDCPA
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - December 2017 - Cover1
Collector - December 2017 - Cover2
Collector - December 2017 - 1
Collector - December 2017 - 2
Collector - December 2017 - President’s Page
Collector - December 2017 - Industry News
Collector - December 2017 - 5
Collector - December 2017 - 6
Collector - December 2017 - 7
Collector - December 2017 - Best Practices
Collector - December 2017 - 9
Collector - December 2017 - FYI
Collector - December 2017 - 11
Collector - December 2017 - Collection Tips
Collector - December 2017 - 13
Collector - December 2017 - Stronger Together
Collector - December 2017 - 15
Collector - December 2017 - 16
Collector - December 2017 - 17
Collector - December 2017 - 18
Collector - December 2017 - 19
Collector - December 2017 - Taking a Layered Approach
Collector - December 2017 - 21
Collector - December 2017 - 22
Collector - December 2017 - 23
Collector - December 2017 - 24
Collector - December 2017 - 25
Collector - December 2017 - Lines of Communication
Collector - December 2017 - 27
Collector - December 2017 - 28
Collector - December 2017 - 29
Collector - December 2017 - 30
Collector - December 2017 - 31
Collector - December 2017 - 32
Collector - December 2017 - 33
Collector - December 2017 - Calendar
Collector - December 2017 - Honor Roll
Collector - December 2017 - Collective Intelligence
Collector - December 2017 - 37
Collector - December 2017 - CFPB Issues Final Rule for Small Dollar Lending Market
Collector - December 2017 - 39
Collector - December 2017 - Ask the Experts: Training Advice
Collector - December 2017 - 41
Collector - December 2017 - Court Rules Voicemail is a “Communication" and Disclosing Name of Collection Agency Provides “Meaningful Disclosure” Under FDCPA
Collector - December 2017 - 43
Collector - December 2017 - Compliance
Collector - December 2017 - 45
Collector - December 2017 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - December 2017 - 47
Collector - December 2017 - Last Word
Collector - December 2017 - Cover3
Collector - December 2017 - Cover4
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