Debt collection rule and call limits—a second look

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) debt collection rule issued in 2020, which amended Regulation F, is now in effect. The NAFCU compliance team has blogged about it a couple of times. In 2019 we blogged about the call limits in the proposed rule. After the first part of the rule was finalized in October 2020, the team blogged about some general principles running through the first final rule and what constitutes a communication and a limited-content message under the rule. And in December 2020, the compliance team blogged about the second part of the debt collection rule finalized by the CFPB, including the treatment of deceased consumers, the requirements related to time-barred debt and passive collections, and the requirements related to validation notices. Today’s blog is going to return to the call limits in section 1006.14 of Regulation F.

Section 806 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from “engag[ing] in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.” Section 1006.14 of Regulation F provides debt collectors with guidance about what may constitute conduct that violates section 806 of the FDCPA. Section 1006.14(b)(1) sets forth the general rule that “[i]n connection with the collection of a debt, a debt collector must not place telephone calls or engage any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.”

The call limits described in sections 1006.14(b)(2)(i)(A) and (B) provide a presumption of compliance that a debt collector does not violate the general prohibition in section 1006.14(b)(1). This means that a debt collector is presumed not to have violated the general prohibition if the debt collector has not called a person in connection with the collection of a debt: (1) more than seven times in a period of seven consecutive days, or (2) within seven days after speaking on the phone with someone about a debt.

 

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