Collector - March 2021 - 40

The Skinny on Limited Content Messages
What to know about leaving messages for consumers under the CFPB's final debt collection rule.

E

veryone's buzzing about the
Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau's final debt collection rule
and its implications for the accounts
receivable management (ARM) industry.
One potentially helpful feature included
in the final rule is the concept of a limited
content message (LCM), which is a short
message script that a debt collector
can leave for a consumer without fear
of making an unintended third-party
disclosure.
As many ARM industry participants
know, numerous courts have held that to

40

leave a voicemail message for a consumer,
a debt collector must satisfy the disclosure
requirements of Sections 806(6) and 807(11)
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,
which require meaningful disclosure of the
caller's identity and the mini-Miranda. These
rulings have created a problem for debt
collectors because courts have also held that
messages disclosing the existence of a debt
can result in a third-party disclosure under
Section 805(b) of the FDCPA.
To address this problem, the CFPB's final
rule provides that if a voicemail message stays
within the definition of a " limited content

message " as set forth in Section 1006.2(j) and
if the debt collector does not knowingly leave
the voicemail message with or for a third
party, then the voicemail message would not
be considered a communication.
That's important because if an LCM isn't
a " communication " for purposes of the
FDCPA, it cannot result in a prohibited
third-party disclosure. This means, in
theory, that if an LCM is left for a consumer
and results in a third-party disclosure, the
complaint would be subject to dismissal
for failure to state a claim, at least as to the
alleged third-party disclosure.

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Collector - March 2021

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