October 16 2013: Changes Take Effect To TCPA
Not only do third-party collection agencies and debt buyers need to be compliant, but creditors also must comply. Make sure you have all your systems in place, they have been checked, and you know they are in compliance.
· All creditors (including healthcare providers, government agencies, and utility and cellular phone companies), should update their application forms to include appropriate disclosure and consent provisions regarding their right, and the rights of any agents or debt buyers, to communicate with the consumer on their cell phone about payment obligations.
· Collection Agencies should work with their clients to establish a system to segregate cell phone from land line numbers, which are transferred to the collection agency only if the creditor will warrant it obtained the cell phone number directly from the consumer (customer).
· Collection Agencies and subsequent Debt Buyers should scrub all telephone numbers associated with the account to determine whether the numbers are cell phone numbers and remove them from autodialer campaigns.
· Collection Agencies and subsequent Debt Buyers should establish appropriate policies and procedures to prevent the inadvertent call to a wireless number and invoke a policy that wireless numbers must be dialed manually unless the agency or debt purchaser has obtained the requisite consent.
· Debt Buyers should ensure the purchase agreement for consumer debt portfolio includes a warranty that the creditor obtained the express consent of the consumer for subsequent purchasers of the debt to contact them using a cellular telephone number.
· Collection Agencies should verify and update what is appearing on caller ID devices when placing outbound calls.
In 2012 and tracking for 2013, TCPA violation lawsuits have surpassed FDCPA lawsuits.
Having the systems in place to avoid defending yourself against violations, and being able to concentrate on keeping your receivables current, will keep your stress level down, and therefore help you in your daily administration and operations.