Using Caller ID in CollectionsCollections Training Resource
April 4, 2013 — 938 views
It is often normal for people to regard you as a person who is breaking the law, if you use caller id in collections. Even though there are cases where debt collectors drive the consumer crazy, most of the methods used are legal. So, it is important to understand what you can and cannot do, with reference to the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
What is Collection Agencies Allowed to do According to Caller ID Laws?
One of the main doubts that people using caller id in collections have is, whether they are allowed to contact a consumer from an 'unknown number'. This is completely legal. But you are not allowed to identify yourself in a misleading manner under any circumstances. You are also not allowed to leave voice mails with ambiguous identities. As debt collectors, you are also allowed to call up a consumer once, or maybe even twice a day, but only between 8am and 9pm local time. But once the consumer answers and requests you stop calling or inform you that they are unable to pay, these daily calls should stop. If you are not able to reach your consumer, you are allowed to make an attempt to contact the consumer's family or friends only once. This is only to try to acquire the consumer's contact information.
You are also allowed to use Facebook or any other websites to acquire information that the consumer has posted on the internet. However, you cannot misuse the information or try to contact the consumer via social media. Collectors are allowed to sue the consumer without any prior information or warning. In fact, even if you suggest to the consumer that a lawsuit will be filed against him if the debt is not paid, it is considered a threat and a violation of the rules of FDCPA. The court summons is the only notice you are allowed to give to the consumer.
What Actions are Against the Laws?
Apart from various actions that are allowed by the law, there are a few things that could land you in trouble if you do them. At no point in the collections are you allowed to ask the consumer to pay more than they owe, or ask them to pay expenses, interest, or fees that are not legal. You are also not allowed to call continuously, at inconvenient times, or between 9pm and 8am. Using profane, abusive, and obscene language is strictly against the law. Use of violence and threatening actions are also not allowed. Violating the rules of the FDCPA could result in a lawsuit being filed against you.
Violation of the Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009's laws, targeted towards individuals who use caller id in collections,will result in very expensive penalties. With 2-year limitations period in civil penalties, you can be fined up to $10,000 per violation, or 3 times that for each continuing day of violation, up to a maximum of $1 million for every single illegal act.