Bedard Breaks Down Sending MVN in Other Languages

America is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds. And that means that a lot of the people living here in the United States came from places where English wasn’t the primary language that was spoken. Take me, for instance. Being Canadian, it took a lot for me to learn how to say “about” instead of “aboot” when I moved to the States more than 20 years ago. Even today, I still get caught saying it the old way.

In all seriousness, companies in the accounts receivable management industry will oftentimes come across individuals who do not speak English well, if at all. Communicating information about a debt to those people can be difficult at times. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took this into account when it released Regulation F, and is allowing collectors the opportunity to send the Model Validation Notice in languages other than English. But, as John Bedard points out in the latest episode of “You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule,” there are important things to remember if a collector is going to go down this road.

The most important aspect of this part of Regulation F — Section 1006.34(e) for those of you following along at home — is that a translated Model Validation Notice has to be a “complete and accurate” translation of the English version of the notice, Bedard says. This means likely more than pasting the text into Google Translate and using whatever gets spit out.

Also, if a collector is going to send a Model Validation Notice in another language, it still has to send an English version along with it, as Bedard points out.

Perhaps the most important component of this provision of Regulation F is triggered if and when a collector opts to include the optional disclosure that it will provide a translated notice if requested.

“That then triggers an obligation by a debt collector to provide a translated notice when the consumer requests it,” Bedard says in the episode. “Remember, those optional disclosures are in the Spanish language, ‘Contact us to request a copy of this form in Spanish.’ And then below on the tear-off portion, there’s an optional disclosure which says ‘I want this form in Spanish.’ If the collector includes those optional disclosures in their validation notice, then the collector is also required by the regulation to provide a complete and accurate Spanish translation of the validation notice when the consumer makes that request.”

Check out all the episodes in the series here: You Wanted a Rule, You Got a Rule. You will also find links on that page to subscribe to the audio version of the series through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. Like what you see? Be sure to reach out to John and let him know!

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