Debt collectors can now contact borrowers online via text, email and social media, according to a new rule issued under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that took effect on Nov. 30, 2021.
The FDCPA was originally created in 1977 to “eliminate abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices” and protect “reputable debt collectors from unfair competition.” But the legislation hadn’t been updated in four decades despite the rapid technological developments that occurred during that time.
Regulation F introduced new protocols for how debt collectors can behave online — it requires them to provide clear identification, keep online conversations private and give debtors the choice to opt out of online communications.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which approved Regulation F, said the new rules will “lead to stronger consumer rights.” Former CFPB director Kathleen L. Kraninger wrote in a blog post that “We are finally leaving 1977 behind and developing a debt collection system that works for consumers and industry in the modern world.”
However, not all advocates are in agreement that the new rule will benefit consumers. The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) said that “Regulation F provides new consumer rights but…