Breaking Down the ‘Know or Should Know’ Requirement of the CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule

Debt collectors, for as long as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has been in effect, have had rules about when it is ok and when it is not ok to speak with consumers. Collectors are required to call consumers during certain hours and calls made outside those times can be considered a violation of the law. Those prohibitions largely have not changed under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s debt collection rule, but, as John Bedard points out in this latest episode of “You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule” collectors are going to have to be more thorough when ensuring they are not calling consumers at an inconvenient time.

In this episode of “You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule” which is sponsored by The Bedard Law Group, John starts to break down Section 1006.6 of the rule, Communications in connection with debt collection. That particular section includes provisions regarding contacting individuals at unusual or inconvenient times or places.

While many of those prohibitions will be familiar to collectors, the CFPB’s debt collection rule spells out that the collector needs to know or should know whether the time is inconvenient before making a call, or sending a text message or email. In the episode, Bedard provides the following example:

“When a collector receives account notes from a client that has what we refer to as a notes field or a natural language text field, and that notes field contains information about the times or places that might be inconvenient to a consumer, that collector is going to be charged with ‘should know’ what is inconvenient, because it’s actually in their notes,” he said. “It’s in their system that they got from the creditor client. So that’s an example of how, although the collector may not have read them, but the collectors should know that that’s what the inconvenient time is.”

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