Collector - March 2021 - 23

W

hen the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau's amendments to Regulation F take
effect on Nov. 30, 2021, a debt collector will be
able to leave a limited content voicemail message and have
the benefit of the safe harbor from inadvertent third-party
disclosures that the limited content message provides.
First, a note: The CFPB has permitted limited content
messages to be transmitted only in the form of voicemail;
there's no such thing as a limited content email message or
limited content text message.
To leave a limited content message on a consumer's
voicemail, the debt collector will be required to leave its
business name as part of the limited content message-but
that business name cannot reveal that the company is in
the debt collection industry. The CFPB has not specified
what words might indicate that a company is in the debt
collection industry, but it's safe to assume that if your
company name includes words like " collection, " " receivable, "
" acceptance " or " recovery, " you won't be able to leave a
limited content message unless you find an alternative
company name to use for that purpose.
One way to work with this requirement is to use an
acronym or some other variation of your company's name.
Any name a company uses to identify itself to the public
other than the company's legal name would be considered
a " trade name " (also called a " fictitious name " or " doing
business as " name, i.e., d/b/a or DBA name).
The question of whether a debt collector's trade name
must be registered with the jurisdictions where the debt
collector operates is another hurdle for debt collectors
seeking to use a limited content message. While it remains
to be seen how courts will come down on this question
considering the amendments to Regulation F and the
confluence with state licensing laws, we can preliminarily
look to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Federal
Trade Commission's commentary on the FDCPA, existing
FDCPA case law and existing state law for guidance.

THE FDCPA'S " TRUE NAME " REQUIREMENT
The inquiry can begin with the plain language of the
FDCPA, which states in Section 807, codified at 15 U.S.C.
Section 1692e(14), that it is false or misleading for a debt
collector to use " any business, company, or organization
name other than the true name of the debt collector's
business, company, or organization. " (Emphasis added.)
Let's call this provision the FDCPA's " true name "
requirement.

THE FTC'S 1988 STAFF COMMENTARY
Roughly a decade after the FDCPA became law, the FTC
provided its take on the FDCPA's true name requirement

COLLECTOR 03.21

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Collector - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - March 2021

Collector - March 2021 - Cover1
Collector - March 2021 - Cover2
Collector - March 2021 - 1
Collector - March 2021 - 2
Collector - March 2021 - 3
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