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Telephone communications still a point of contention in debt collection

Jan 07, 2014 Philip Burgess

Telephone communications still a point of contention in debt collection

Despite the wide variety and high volume of news stories that have revealed the struggles of the debt collection industry when trying to use advanced communications tools such as social media, telephone conversations are still among the most contested issues. Agencies must ensure that their employees understand the points of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as well as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), to avoid fines and sanctions from abusive and illegal communications.

InsideARM recently reported that one agency was favored by a court in a lawsuit that involved allegations of TCPA violations, and that this was a good example for other collectors to follow. According to the news provider, this lawsuit actually set good precedence for what defines "good faith" in a TCPA dispute, especially considering the favorable outcome of the defense's approach to the case.

Telephone communications are among the most common for debt collectors and, as such, are generally where the most disputes between debtors and agencies originate. The source explained that the defense brought up several previous decisions made in similar lawsuits that involved a debt collector calling a debtor's cell phone number after acquiring it from the original creditor.

Plaintiffs in this specific case argued that the agency had no place calling the cell phone number given the rules of the TCPA, but the defense proved that the collector had received this specific information from the firm responsible for the original creation of the debt. As such, InsideARM explained that the court ruled in favor of the defendant.

Collectors need to ensure that they are following the guidance under the TCPA, FDCPA and any other relevant statutes to maintain credibility and avoid damaging lawsuits. As the industry heats up, those agencies that most closely adhere to the law will likely excel in the future.