Bill Introduced in N.Y. to Ban Social Media Communications When Collecting

A bill has been introduced in the New York legislature that would ban debt collectors from attempting to collect debts using social media platforms, which would directly contradict what is allowed under the provisions of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Regulation F.

Details about the bill — A08622 — which was introduced last week by state Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn can be accessed by clicking here.

Under the bill, collectors would be prohibited from joining or requesting to join a consumer’s social media network or communicating or attempting to communicate with a debtor using a social media platform for the purpose of collecting or attempting to collect a debt owed by such debtor.

If passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, the bill would go into effect immediately. The bill has been referred to the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection.

This appears to be the first time that Assemblywoman Bichotte Hermelyn has introduced legislation relative to the accounts receivable management industry.

Under Regulation F, debt collectors are allowed to use social media platforms like Facebook to communicate with debtors, but only when done via private or direct messages. Collectors are not allowed to make any attempt to communicate that could be viewed or accessed publicly in order to prevent third parties from being made aware of the existence of a debt.

The social media component of Regulation F was targeted by consumer advocates and the mainstream media as evidence that collectors were being given too much latitude in how they communicate and attempt to communicate with consumers.

New York’s Department of Financial Services has introduced its own proposed regulation in response to Regulation F. Comments are being accepted on the proposed amendments until February 14.

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