The Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been the friend for consumers who have been abused by debt collectors.
New changes to the TCPA for debts owed to the federal government, like federal student loans, have important updates consumer need to be aware of.
- Permit calls made by debt collectors when the loan is in delinquency, and by debt servicers following a specific, time-sensitive event affecting the amount or timing of payment due, and in the 30 days before such an event. These time-sensitive events might be a recertification deadline or the end of a deferment period, and in the 30 days before such an event. For example, with student loans the limits on the number of covered calls, no debt servicing calls will be permitted except those regarding an approaching deadline or a change in status (deferment, forbearance, rehabilitation), calls regarding enrollment or reenrollment in income-driven or income-based repayment plans, and calls regarding similar time-sensitive events or deadlines affecting the amount or timing of payments due.
- Determine that consumers have a right to stop the autodialed, artificial voice, and prerecorded-voice servicing and collection calls regarding a federal debt to wireless numbers at any point the consumer wishes. This stoppage of calls will apply to the life of the debt. and collectors must inform consumers of this right to request collection calls to stop.
- Specify that covered calls may be made by the owner of the debt or its contractor, to: (1) The wireless telephone number the debtor provided at the time the debt was incurred; (2) a phone number subsequently provided by the debtor to the owner of the debt or its contractor; and (3) a wireless telephone number the owner of the debt or its contractor has obtained from an independent source, provided that the number actually is the debtor’s telephone number.
- Caps the number of permitted calls to wireless numbers at no more than three within a thirty-day period regardless of how many individual loans are owed.
- Restrict calls of text to collect a federal debt to the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time at the called party’s location).
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