The limited content message. In theory, it sounds like such a great idea. Under the provisions of the debt collection rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, collection agencies can leave a voicemail for consumers, and as long as certain rules are followed, it will not count as a communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. But, as John Bedard from the Bedard Law Group points out in this episode of “You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule,” a business case must be made to determine whether it is worth using the limited content message or not.
Companies in the accounts receivable management industry have been using one of two voicemail options in recent years, which are known thanks to the names of the plaintiffs — Foti and Zortman — in the legal cases from which the content of the messages was ultimately deemed allowable and not be considered a violation of the FDCPA.
But the strict provisions under which a limited content message can be left has many wondering if it will be an effective tool to induce consumers to call back the individual which leaves the message. Under the limited content message, for example, the collector can not use the consumer’s name or mention the name of the company if the name indicates that the company is in the collection business.
“Now, if I’m a collector, I’m asking myself, how effective are these messages?” Bedard says during the episode. “Are they going to generate callbacks? Are they really going to give me [right-party contacts] that I’m looking for? And I think there’s only one way to effectively measure the effectiveness of this call of these limited content messages might. And that is to use a very specific unique phone number, which you are going to include in your limited content message, which is only included in your limited content messages, so that you can then measure callback rates, you can measure RPCs, you can measure all of that, versus your other phone calls and your other messages and compare them to your limited content message so that you can really begin to benchmark the effectiveness of these limited content messages.”