In issuing its debt collection rule, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had the opportunity to update a rule that had been left largely untouched since it went into effect more than 40 years ago. And, as has been discussed in previous videos, the CFPB did opt to modernize how debts are collected. But, as John Bedard details in the latest episode of “You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule,” there are components of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that the CFPB opted to leave largely in tact. And one of those sections was how collectors can speak with third parties to acquire location information of individuals with unpaid debts.
In this episode, Bedard discusses Section 1006.10 of the debt collection rule. While largely unchanged from what is included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, how collectors can use location information calls to try and locate individuals with unpaid debts does have some subtle changes from the statute, and collectors would do well to note those changes while also using the opportunity to refresh their knowledge of what is required during these conversations.
For example, the CFPB opted not to include mobile phone numbers and email addresses in the definition of location information, Bedard noted, but does offer comments in its analysis of the rule’s components that address this question that many collectors had. Despite that commentary, Bedard said he is still going to recommend that collectors stick to the letter of the law in what they should be asking for during location information calls.
The Bureau does include examples of what a collector can say when trying to acquire location information about a consumer who is deceased, because that is a different type of call than a run-of-the-mill location information call, Bedard noted. Collectors can say they are looking to confirm the or correct the location information of the person handling the finances for the deceased individual, Bedard said.
“The Bureau’s position is that that language does not reveal the nature of the purpose of the call as debt collection or reveal that the consumer, the deceased consumer, owes a debt,” Bedard said in his breakdown of the section.
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