CFPB Debt Collection Rule Resource Guide

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Section 1006.2 Limited Content Message

The following perspective was provided by Nicole Strickler of Messer & Strickler.

One of the most useful collection tools in the CFPB’s rules is the “Limited-Content Message” detailed in Section 1006.2. For years, collector’s struggled with the ability to leave voice messages for consumers in compliance with two sections of the FDCPA. The first is Section 1692e(11) which requires a collector to disclose its status of a “debt collector” in communications with consumers. The second is section 1692c, which prohibits a debt collector from disclosing the debt to impermissible third parties. Collectors were left with two options. In leaving a message which states the status of the caller as a “debt collector”, the collector risks the reality that a third party may inadvertently, or sometimes advertently, listen to a debt collection message creating collector liability. Alternatively, if the “debt collector” disclaimer was omitted from the message, the consumer could bring a claim for failing to provide the disclosure creating collector liability. Section 1006.2 was designed to solve, or at least mitigate, the collector’s risk. Under this provision, if a collector leaves or send the message with certain content, the message will not be actionable should a third-party inadvertently hear the message. Likewise, the collector will not be liable for failing to state its status as a “debt collector.” In order to constitute a “Limited-Content Message”, the message must contain the business name of the collector (without indicating debt collection), a request that the consumer reply to the message, the name of a person to contact, and a phone number to call. It is also permissible to include a salutation, the date and time of the message, suggested dates and times for the consumer’s reply, and a statement that the consumer can speak to any of the company’s representatives when the call is returned. Notably, the message cannot include the consumer’s name or account number. Overall, the “Limited-Content Message” will be a useful tool for collectors, particularly those who ceased leaving messages long ago in fear of potential liability.