Collection Professionals' Issues with Modern CommunicationCollections Training Resource
October 22, 2012 — 1,153 views
Collection Professionals' Issues with Modern Communication
In today's world, there are many communication methods that people use, and possibly the most convenient and effective method of communication is cell phones. They're small, easy to carry, and allow for some of the quickest communication between two parties. Another method of rapid communication is by fax machines, which are often used to quickly transmit documents from one party to another. A third modern method of communication is a pager, which is used by one party to alert another party that they're requesting contact. While cell phones, fax machines, and pagers are some of the most direct methods of contacting people, in the business of collections there are many limitations on how a collector is permitted to use modern communication methods to contact debtors.
Recovering debts by way of phone collections has received several restrictions over the years. One of those restrictions, made possible by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, is that collectors are prohibited from using automated telephone equipment that uses a recording or artificial voice to make a phone call to any consumer's cell phone, paging service or any other service in which the consumer is charged for the phone call. This means that a collector must manually make the phone call to the consumer's cell phone and speak to the consumer directly in order to establish contact to attempt to collect a debt.
Another restriction, imposed by the Fair Debt Collection Act, is that any misrepresentation by a collector is prohibited. A collector is not permitted to falsely represent the amount owed by the debtor, or the legal status of any debt. A collector is also not permitted to harass any debtor by means of phone calls, personal threats or any other menacing method. While a collector is permitted to contact debtors between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. each day, the collector is not permitted to repeatedly call any debtor.
Collection professionals are restricted from continuing to collect a debt if a debtor sends a written letter of communication stating that they refuse to pay a debt. Collectors are also prohibited from continuing to collect a debt if the debtor sends a written request to the collector to cease communication. The collector is permitted, however, to communicate to the debtor that further efforts to collect a debt will be terminated, or to communicate to the debtor that the collector may invoke, or will invoke a specified, approved remedy to collect a debt.