Phone apps
(Photo : Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash)

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau approved a new rule allowing debt collectors to contact you/borrowers through social media account.

Phone apps
(Photo : Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash)

There's a new rule approved by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and it's to allow debt collection agencies to text, email, or DM borrowers on social media to seek repayments on unpaid debts. These new changes took effect on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Former CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger, who supervised the new rule, said that it was a necessary update to be added to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a four-decade-old policy that needs an urgent update.

Kraninger wrote her sentiment regarding CFBP's new rule on a blog post, saying: "We are finally leaving 1977 behind and developing a debt collection system that works for consumers and industry in the modern world."

Meanwhile, consumer advocates argued against the new rule, worried that borrowers can fall prey to illegal scams if they are going to be contacted online for the repayment of their debt.

A staff lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center, April Kuehnhoff, expressed her disapproval of the new rule, "The rules are really disappointing and concerning in a number of ways."

Many believe that fiving the go-signal for debt collectors to make use of social media to seek indebted individuals will be an opportunity for criminals to swindle people out of their fortune.

"I have actually already gotten my first spam debt collection email even before the new rules took effect," Kuehnhoff stated.

Kuehnhoff also believes that this new rule will increase scam cases by taking advantage of the rules and earning money illegally.

Also Read: Social Media Likes And Shares Are Making People Angrier Online, Study Says

What Are The Limits To This New Rule For Debt Collectors?

Despite the concerns expressed by many, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assured that there would be limitations as well.

Residing under the new rules, debt collectors who will contact you should have to identify themselves as debt collectors immediately. The CFPB, however, encouraged collectors to attempt joining a network with borrowers by first sending a friend request.

Debt collectors must also give you the option to opt-out of being communicated through social media. Any messages sent by collectors must have to be private as well.

Additionally, collectors have no right to post on your page. Any of your contacts online must not see that the collector has reached out to you.

Now, being messaged online through social media is also an option because the rule says collection agencies must give you the option if you do not want to be contacted online.

Many officials in the industry welcome this move by the CFPB, citing the outdated methods used by a multitude of the collection industry and the presence of social media apps.

In a statement, the CEO of ACA International, a trade association for debt collectors, Mark Neeb, believes every consumer in the collection process should access the option to have their preferred method of contacting debt collectors.

Neeb also added that borrowers could opt out of using the traditional methods, citing the essence of social media in the process.

Furthermore, CFPB also limits how often debt collectors can contact you, with agencies being restricted to making seven calls per week per borrower.

Related Article: Facebook and Social Media Companies Held Liable if Used in Criminal Activity

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Written by Thea Felicity

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