Debt Collection Through Text Messages

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The CL&P Blog has posted an article about some companies beginning to use text messaging as a form of debt collection. This method has some conflicts with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s regulations on debt collectors disclosing themselves.

Some of them, like the validation message required under section 1692g, are only required within five days of the initial communication, and so can be sent in other ways, but under section 1692(e)(11), all communications must disclose that the communication is from a debt collector.

Character constraints in texting don’t allow for adequate disclosure and then a more detailed statement of the debt from the collector. Also, billing plans charge recipients for text messages and not the sender, so consumers definitely won’t be happy about paying for texts that tell them they owe money to debt collectors.

That also brings up section 1692f, which prohibits unfair practices, and in subsection (5) specifically bars:

Causing charges to be made to any person for communications by concealment of the true purpose of the communication. Such charges include, but are not limited to, collect telephone calls and telegram fees.

While the above was written before text messaging it is certainly applicable to this newest development.

If you have had problems with debt collector harassment feel free to contact us through our website or by calling 205-879-2447.

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