Even though Regulation F has been in effect for nearly eight months, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is still publishing guidance to help companies in the accounts receivable management industry comply with the rule. Yesterday, the Bureau published a new set of Frequently Asked Questions related to electronic communications and communicating during unusual or inconvenient times or places.
The Bureau previously published FAQs on the Limited-Content Message and Call Frequency provisions of the rule in October 2021, and FAQs on validation information and the itemization table last November. It has not published any additional guidance to help collectors comply with Regulation F since then.
The questions answered by the CFPB in the latest round of guidance are:
- Does the Debt Collection Rule require debt collectors to communicate electronically with consumers?
- Under the Debt Collection Rule, can a person limit debt collector communications?
- What is the Debt Collection Rule’s opt-out notice requirement for electronic communications?
- What are considered reasonable and simple methods for opting out of electronic communications under the Debt Collection Rule?
- Is a debt collector required to honor a consumer’s request to opt out of electronic communications if the request does not conform to the debt collector’s opt-out instructions?
- Does the debt collection rule limit where or when a debt collector can communicate or attempt to communicate with a consumer about a debt?
- What does the Debt Collection Rule define as an inconvenient or unusual time?
- What does the Debt Collection Rule define as an inconvenient or unusual place?
- Does an automatically generated electronic communication (such as a payment reminder) that is sent at a time the debt collector knows or should know is unusual or inconvenient to the consumer, violate the prohibition on communicating at an inconvenient time?
- What are the exceptions to the prohibition on communicating at an unusual or inconvenient time or place?
- Does an automatically generated electronic communication (such as a payment confirmation) sent at a time the debt collector knows or should know is inconvenient to the consumer, which is sent in response to a consumer action (such as a payment) meet the limited exception for responding to consumer-initiated contact?
- If a consumer tells a debt collector that Fridays are inconvenient, but late contacts a debt collector on a Friday, can the debt collector respond on the following Friday, under the limited exception for responding to consumer-initiated contact at a time or place the consumer previously designated as inconvenient?