It’s a well known fact that most people, in today’s world, prefer text messages to standard phone calls. Texts require less interaction, which modern day people seem to be steering clear of more and more.
The debt collection industry has realized this and, as a result, is now seeing a surge in debt collection efforts being made via text message.
However, many debt collection agencies and individuals are iffy on the legality of text messaging. Can debt collectors REALLY text you? And, if so, can they also text third parties, such as co-signors or others who might share your phone?
Despite the outrage of many debtors, text messaging generally is considered permissible when it comes to debt collection. However, there are some restrictions in place, and the same rules that apply to phone calls generally apply to text messages
So, what are the rules when it comes to debt collection via text? While there are many rules and stipulations, here are a few things you or your debt collection agency CAN’T do:
l Sending texts very early in the morning
l Sending texts very late at night
l Verbal abuse
l Continuous/constant contact or harassment
l Making threats, such as threats of litigation, that are not possible or that will not or cannot be followed through
There are also rules in places as it relates to contacting third parties. Debt collectors, via text message, can, in most cases, only contact third parties for information about where the debtor resides. They cannot, via text or phone, state that they are trying to collect a debt, and they cannot contact a third party more than once unless that third party gives his or her express permission that it’s okay to do so.
As a debt collector, you should also be aware that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act doesn’t allow auto dialed text messages unless the person has given his express consent.
Furthermore, debtors can send written requests to avoid further contact, which you must abide by until you take specific action, such as litigation, to resolve the debt. There are also some text-messaging related laws that exist only in certain states, so while you can send that collections text, take a moment before you do so to make sure you’re operating within the bounds of the law!