Debt collectors may soon get the green light to bombard you with unlimited text messages and emails. That's if a new set of rules proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau get approved.
The change is part of a proposed rule seeking to update the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act passed in 1977. Consumer advocates and debt collectors alike say the law is far overdue for an update, given that faxes and phone-answering machines were cutting-edge technology at the time.
The proposal would limit the number of calls a debt collector can make. But the new rules would allow them to reach out to you via email and text messages.
Debt collectors would be restricted to 7 calls per week, under the proposed regulations. Then once that limit is reached, collectors are required to wait at least a week before calling again. But based on the proposed changes, debt collectors would be able to text and email you as many times as they want.
There's no cap on the number, though you could unsubscribe from receiving the messages. However, they are banned from contacting consumers on work emails or via social media.
The federal financial watchdog says the new rules prohibit collectors from suing or threatening to sue a consumer. Not everyone is in favor of the plan. Consumer advocacy groups say it doesn't go far enough to protect consumers.
Consumers have 90 days to comment to the CFPB on the proposed rule after it is published in the Federal Register. Then the group is expected to rule on the matter based on the feedback.