There are some positive signs for a potential economic rebound. But it may be too late for some here in Florida who accrued debt and now face phone calls or even visits to their home by third-party debt collectors. Some may not realize that debt collectors are also allowed to use such modern formats as email, text and social media.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau plans to change the rule regarding debt collectors’ protocols for using these newer approaches. As of October 21, 2021, the change allows collectors to contact debtors up to seven times per week and more under certain circumstances. The change also will enable collectors to send unlimited text messages, emails and social media posts.
A clarification of the rules
However, advocates for the new rule say it will also clarify the guidelines for collectors who utilize social media, email or text. Moreover, the rule explains how consumers can limit communications from debt collectors. Notably:
- Consumers can legally unsubscribe from emails they receive.
- A consumer can legally stop the collectors’ text messages.
Florida’s FFCPA provides protections
Fortunately, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) protects consumers from predatory, harassing, deceptive or abusive collection practices, even when it is social media. Under the FCCPA, consumers can even report collectors who violate the rules to Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What to do if they reach out
Debtors have many rights when it comes to collections, so it is often smart to question these requests:
- Request verification of the amount owed.
- Do not give them personal information.
- Get an up to date copy of your credit report.
- Try to negotiate a lower payment or better terms.
Bankruptcy protection may be the best option
Depending upon the circumstance of the debt and all applicable protections, it still may be wise for individuals or families to file bankruptcy with a bankruptcy attorney’s help. They can help clients determine the best course of action based on their financial situation’s specific details. It also provides additional protection to the consumer, including stopping the harassing or annoying messages in the digital format.