Collector - March 2021 - 41

WHAT THE REGULATION SAYS
According to the plain language of Section
1006.2(j), a limited content message
includes only the following information:
Required Content:
*	 A business name for the debt collector
that does not indicate that the debt
collector is in the debt collection business;
*	 A request that the consumer reply to
the message;
*	 The name or names of one or more
natural persons whom the consumer
can contact to reply to the debt
collector; and
*	 A telephone number or numbers that
the consumer can use to reply to the
debt collector.
Optional Content:
*	 A salutation;
*	 The date and time of the message;
*	 Suggested dates and times for the
consumer to reply to the message; or
*	 A statement that if the consumer replies,
the consumer may speak to any of the
company's representatives or associates.
An LCM must include all the required
content. It may additionally include any of
the optional content. It may not include any
other content besides those eight items.

LIMITATIONS OF LCMS
So, what's the catch? For one thing, an
LCM can only be made via voicemail,
including direct drops (ringless
voicemails). The final rule expressly defines
an LCM as " a voicemail for a consumer, "
which excludes any potential use of an
LCM via other forms of communication,
e.g., text message or email. (Note that the
final rule does provide a framework by
which debt collectors can communicate
with consumers via electronic media and
minimize the risk of unintended thirdparty disclosures. See 12 C.F.R. Section
1006.6(d)(3)-(5).)
Additionally, it's crucial to understand that
an LCM can only be left only for a consumer.
Debt collectors may not knowingly leave
an LCM for a third party-if they do, that
voicemail message will not qualify as an

COLLECTOR 03.21

LCM and would likely result in a prohibited
third-party disclosure.
By rule, an LCM is not a communication,
but it is an " attempt to communicate. " The
CFPB created this term to help define the
contours of other sections of the rule that
restrict or prohibit communication efforts
under certain circumstances.
For instance, Section 1006.6(b)(1) covers
communications with consumers and
requires that " a debt collector must not
communicate or attempt to communicate
with a consumer " (emphasis added) at any
unusual or inconvenient time or place.
Similarly, Section 1006.14(a) prohibits
debt collectors from communicating or
attempting to communicate with any person
in a manner " the natural consequence
of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse "
the person. And Section 1006.14(h)
restricts communications and attempts
to communicate via " a medium of
communication if the person has requested
that the debt collector not use that medium
to communicate with that person. "
Because an LCM qualifies as an " attempt
to communicate, " it will count for the
purposes of third-party disclosure toward
the provisions of analyzing potential
violations of Sections 1006.6(b) and
1006.14(a) and (h).
Additionally, although an LCM is not
a communication for the purposes of
third-party disclosure analysis, it will
count as a " telephone call " for purposes
of the new call frequency limitations
presumptions imposed by the final rule
in Section 1006.14(b). The same will be
true of LCMs left via a ringless voicemail.
Comments relevant to Section 1006.14(b)
state that for purposes of the callfrequency limitations provisions, " 'placing
a telephone call' includes conveying a
ringless voicemail. "
Debt collectors must consider potential
interaction between LCMs and caller ID. In
the section-by-section analysis included in
the rule, the CFPB states, in part: " caller ID
information may disclose more information
than permitted by Section 1006.2(j). In these
circumstances, such voicemail messages

would not meet the definition of limitedcontent message. "
Accordingly, debt collectors who plan to
leave LCMs need to understand how their
name will appear on consumers' caller ID
displays to properly assess potential risks
of third-party disclosure when leaving
voicemails intended to be LCMs. 
If a collection agency's name includes
terminology that could indicate its status
as a debt collector, then that name cannot
be used in the LCM. Agencies that find
themselves in this position will likely want
to consider adopting or using a trade name
that does not indicate a relationship to
the debt collection industry. The legally
conservative approach to this tactic would
be to register an appropriate trade name in
each jurisdiction in which the collection
agency intends to leave LCMs. Note that
some licensing bodies may require a trade
name (registered or unregistered) to be
included on the agency's collection license,
which would require some additional time
and expense.
One final note: Many ACA members
have expressed a desire to begin using
LCMs immediately, but it may make sense
to wait until Regulation F takes effect on
Nov. 30, 2021. Until then, the final rule
lacks the force of law, so even if a court
might countenance the effort, leaving an
LCM before the regulation takes effect
would pose some risk considering existing
common law. Members should consult with
their own legal counsel about how best to
proceed with implementation.
ACA members wishing to learn more
about the current state of the law on leaving
voicemail messages should review recently
revised ACA SearchPoint document #1146,
Leaving Messages for Consumers.
Have you checked out ACA's memberonly SearchPoint library? ACA SearchPoint
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
ACA SearchPoint, visit acainternational.org/
searchpoint or download ACA's mobile app. 

41


https://www.acainternational.org/assets/searchpoint/1146voicemailmessages.pdf https://www.acainternational.org/assets/searchpoint/1146voicemailmessages.pdf http://www.acainternational.org/searchpoint http://www.acainternational.org/searchpoint

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