Collector - February 2018 - 46
What Can I Say?
Here's an easy way to keep up with state laws on collecting debts by phone.
ou know how to make a
collection call, right? Don't
make any calls before 8 a.m. or
after 9 p.m. in the consumer's time zone;
discussing the debt with a consumer's
spouse is OK and contacting a consumer
at work is just fine unless you know it is
inconvenient for the consumer.
While these may be true under the federal
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they
don't necessarily hold true in all states.
Several states have requirements for debt
collection calls that are more restrictive than
the requirements found within the FDCPA.
That's why collectors need to be cognizant
of both federal and state laws that govern
collection calls. As state requirements for
collection calls may vary, debt collectors
must thoroughly research the laws of the
states in which they are calling.
State requirements may limit how
many times a debt collector can contact
a consumer. For instance, West Virginia
prohibits debt collectors from engaging
consumers in telephone conversations more
than 10 times per week. And Washington
law prohibits collectors from communicating
with a consumer more than three times
in a single week, unless responding to a
communication from the consumer.
Additionally, while the FDCPA allows
debt collectors to contact a consumer's
spouse regarding a debt, some state laws
may restrict that communication. Iowa,
for example, allows debt collectors to
communicate with a consumer's spouse
with the consent of the consumer, or to
respond to inquiries from the consumer's
spouse. State laws may also limit the number
of times a debt collector may contact a
consumer's spouse (e.g., Washington).
Some state laws regulate debt collection
calls at a consumer's place of employment.
Many states require debt collectors to make a
good faith effort to reach consumers at their
residence prior to attempting to contact the
consumers' place of employment. States may
also place other constraints on contacting
a consumer's place of employment. For
instance, in Massachusetts, debt collectors
must send a consumer a written notice about
their right to cease collection calls at work
within 30 days of first contacting a consumer
at his place of employment.
Before calling consumers make
sure you know the laws of the state
in which you are making calls to
ensure compliance with varying state
communication requirements. For more
information on state oral communication
requirements, ACA International
members can review ACA's SearchPoint™
document, #2011 State Laws Governing
Oral Communication with Consumers,
which provides collectors with these laws
in a convenient and searchable format.
Have you checked out the member-only
ACA SearchPoint™ library? This valuable
"West Virginia prohibits
debt collectors from
than 10 times per
resource is filled with documents that put
important compliance information related
to the FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, state laws
and many other topics at your fingertips.
To access it, visit www.acainternational.
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