Collector - March 2021 - 12

COLLECTIONTIPS

Keep Moving Forward
How to get ready for the CFPB's rule for the debt collection industry.
By Angela Czerlanis

H

ere in Minnesota, where ACA
International is based, we say there
are two seasons: winter and road
construction. Before the COVID-19 workfrom-home transition, when the commute
to work was a snarled mess, everyone
needed a Plan A, Plan B and a Plan OMG:
How do I get off at the next exit so I can
keep moving?!
You had to have your maps cued up for
alternate routes. When those didn't work,
some people just drove onto the shoulder
and implemented Plan OMG. Just keep
going, right?
Just as Minnesota drivers will continue to
change routes, collection agencies' familiar
routines are going to change with the new
requirements in Regulation F of the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act. The new rule
was released in two parts in October and
December 2020. The Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau has given us nearly a
year to get ready. Everything becomes
effective Nov. 30, 2021.
ACA is updating its education. Your
compliance and training teams are building
the alternate routes for you now. The
most important thing is to follow the new
directions and not " drive on the shoulder. "
Here are three big detour signs to learn and
plan for in the next eight months.

LIMITED CONTENT VOICEMAIL
Leaving voicemail messages can sometimes
lead to third-party disclosure. To help
us reach consumers and protect the
consumer's privacy, the CFPB has designed
a script template called " Limited Content. "
There are certain things that we will be able
to say but nothing more. Your company
may change its name to an acronym or
abbreviation that does not indicate debt
collection. Follow your new script exactly
and practice it until it becomes familiar
and routine for you. Do not add or change
anything in your new script without your
manager's approval.

FREQUENCY
The new rule says that a debt collector
cannot call a consumer more than seven
times in a seven day consecutive period for
each debt. After having a conversation with
a consumer about a particular debt, the debt

collector cannot call the consumer again
about that debt for seven consecutive days.
If you're thinking, " What if... " you're not
alone! There are a lot of complicated issues
with this new rule and as such, it's important
to rely on your compliance and training
team for guidance. Dialing systems will help.
Keep accurate notes for each call. Remember
to indicate any requests from the consumer
to contact them in a different way or at a
more convenient time or place.
The entire ACA team is excited to prepare
members for these historical changes to
the FDCPA. Set your coordinates for ACA
Education and Events for new lessons
on how to prepare for the rules. Visit
acainternational.org/events for Core classes,
Hot Topics, ACA Huddles and more to keep
you moving forward in 2021.
Angela Czerlanis is ACA International's
learning and development specialist.

DEFINITION OF 'CONSUMER'
Deceased consumers leaving debts behind are
now included in the definition of " consumer. "
This means when you have an account where
the consumer has died, you will need to
determine if a survivor can work with you
to resolve the debt. The FDCPA allows debt
collectors to communicate with certain
family members and legal representatives.
Remember, you cannot demand payment
from these folks. The payment must come
from the deceased consumer's assets.

12

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Collector - March 2021

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