Getting a text message from a collection agent is invasive and annoying. If you have a limited number of minutes or messages, or if you have to pay for each one, these messages can even put you in a deeper financial bind.
The debt collection industry wants to contact you any way you can. And as of right now there is no law saying they can’t send you a text message.
They don’t even have to ask you to opt in.
Part of the problem is the FDCPA. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act hasn’t been updated since 1977. On one hand, it doesn’t give anyone permission to use text messages to contact you, because the technology didn’t exist.
On the other, there’s no language to stop anyone from doing it, for the same reason.
The same goes for email.
Some debt collectors have been cautious about sending texts or emails.
With no clear guidance about how many texts they can send, when they can send them, or what they can say, they’ve adopted a “better safe than sorry” approach. Some people have even been successful at suing debt collection companies engaging in this type of behavior.
A proposed rule by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would change all that. Under this rule, not only would debt collectors have the right to text you, but they could do so as many times as they want, as long as they don’t try to trick you or harass you into paying. Unlimited emails would also be available to them, and they could call you up to seven times a week.
If this sounds like a nightmare for your sanity and your phone plan you’re not alone. The rule is seeing opposition. It’s just uncertain whether the opposition will be enough to stop the rule from taking effect.
You aren’t powerless, even if you feel powerless.
Even if the rule takes effect you do not have to suffer through creditor harassment.
One way to bring all contact to a screeching halt is to invoke your rights under the FDCPA. Send a certified letter informing the debt collection company that it may only send correspondence via the US Postal Service. This will cover text messages and emails as well as calls. You might want to specifically mention both forms of communication in your letter.
Keep in mind this letter won’t keep a debt collector from launching a lawsuit against you, especially if you owe a large enough sum. You’ll need to stay on top of your correspondence and open all your mail if you take this route.
Another way to bring all the correspondence to a screeching halt would be to declare bankruptcy. This will initiate the automatic stay. It will put creditors on notice that they must contact your attorney, but not you. All collection activity must stop, including calls, emails, texts, voicemails, lawsuits, and repossessions.
If you’re dealing with multiple collection calls there’s a good chance you’re already in over your head financially. Many people wait far too long to start the process, believing they will find a way to handle debt that’s gone out of control.
Don’t be one of them. Stop collection calls today by calling the Law Offices of Simon Haysom, LLC.
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