Collector - February 2018 - 44

COMPLIANCE

I'm Not Paying That!
A consumer's written refusal to pay is a valid cease communication request under the FDCPA.
By Laura Dadd

T

he Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act allows consumers to request
in writing that a debt collector
cease contacting them, and the debt
collector must comply with such a request.
It also requires debt collectors to cease
communications when consumers submit a
written refusal to pay a debt.
Under Section 805 of the FDCPA,
consumers may send a debt collector a
written notice to cease communications in
connection with the collection of a debt, or
the consumer may send a written notice that
he or she refuses to pay a debt.
Consumers' written requests to cease
communications do not have to precisely
state, "cease communications" or "I refuse
to pay," to make them valid. However,
consumers must indicate their desire for
the debt collector to cease communications
or their refusal to pay through the context
of their letter.
For instance, phrases such as, "Kindly
don't bother me anymore," "This debt
doesn't belong to me," or "I want no
further non-litigation contact from you,"
may suffice to trigger a debt collector's
duty to cease communications with the
consumer. Review correspondence from
consumers very carefully in order to avoid
missing any more subtly worded cease
communication requests or refusals to pay.
Consumers' written cease
communication requests and refusals to
pay are effective upon receipt by the debt
collector. Even if a particular debt collector
contacting a consumer has not read the
consumer's notice before contacting
the consumer, the requests may still be
effective, as it is sufficient that the notice
was received by the debt collection agency.
That's why it's critical to have written
policies and procedures concerning
handling consumer mail and distributing

44

account updates to collectors. Having
proper policies and procedures may allow
a successful bona fide error defense to be
raised if the necessity arises.
A refusal to pay or a cease communication
request only applies to the specific account
referenced by the consumer. It does not
apply to any subsequent accounts assigned
to the debt collector for payment recovery.
As a result, if the consumer wishes the
debt collector to cease further contact with
respect to all debts or refuses to pay all debts
that are being serviced by the debt collector,
the consumer must invoke the protection of
Section 805(c) of the FDCPA in writing for
each debt.

Remember, a consumer's written
refusal to pay a debt is the same as a cease
communication request. To be effective, a
refusal to pay or a cease communication
request must be in writing. They only
apply to a specific debt and are effective
upon receipt. Carefully crafted policies and
procedures can help staff recognize a binding
refusal to pay or cease communication
request and provide the proper protocol
for handling such requests. They can also
help prevent honest mistakes and provide
defenses to litigation attempts.
Laura Dadd is ACA International's
compliance analyst.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - February 2018

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Perspective
The Many Sides of a Chief Compliance Officer
Collection Tips
Is This Working?
Advocacy at its Finest
Calendar
Honor Roll
Express Yourself
A Step Above
Ask the Experts: Solving a Problem
ACA Submits Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Case Challenging the 7th Circuit’s Treatment of Letters Seeking Collection of Out-of- Statute Debt.
Compliance
ACA SearchPoint
Last Word
Collector - February 2018 - Cover1
Collector - February 2018 - Cover2
Collector - February 2018 - 1
Collector - February 2018 - 2
Collector - February 2018 - 3
Collector - February 2018 - President’s Page
Collector - February 2018 - 5
Collector - February 2018 - Industry News
Collector - February 2018 - 7
Collector - February 2018 - 8
Collector - February 2018 - 9
Collector - February 2018 - Best Practices
Collector - February 2018 - 11
Collector - February 2018 - FYI
Collector - February 2018 - 13
Collector - February 2018 - Perspective
Collector - February 2018 - 15
Collector - February 2018 - Collection Tips
Collector - February 2018 - 17
Collector - February 2018 - 18
Collector - February 2018 - 19
Collector - February 2018 - 20
Collector - February 2018 - 21
Collector - February 2018 - Is This Working?
Collector - February 2018 - 23
Collector - February 2018 - 24
Collector - February 2018 - 25
Collector - February 2018 - 26
Collector - February 2018 - 27
Collector - February 2018 - Advocacy at its Finest
Collector - February 2018 - 29
Collector - February 2018 - Calendar
Collector - February 2018 - Honor Roll
Collector - February 2018 - Express Yourself
Collector - February 2018 - 33
Collector - February 2018 - A Step Above
Collector - February 2018 - 35
Collector - February 2018 - Ask the Experts: Solving a Problem
Collector - February 2018 - 37
Collector - February 2018 - ACA Submits Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court in Case Challenging the 7th Circuit’s Treatment of Letters Seeking Collection of Out-of- Statute Debt.
Collector - February 2018 - 39
Collector - February 2018 - 40
Collector - February 2018 - 41
Collector - February 2018 - 42
Collector - February 2018 - 43
Collector - February 2018 - Compliance
Collector - February 2018 - 45
Collector - February 2018 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector - February 2018 - 47
Collector - February 2018 - Last Word
Collector - February 2018 - Cover3
Collector - February 2018 - Cover4
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