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New Legislation May Clarify Collectors’ Ability to Leave Voice Messages for Consumers

April 25, 2012

Debt Collection Legislation

A few weeks ago, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would exempt debt collectors from liability when leaving voice messages for debtors. Legislation that currently exists on the subject has created more questions than it has answered. The court’s ruling from Foti v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc. requires debt collectors to unambiguously disclose their identity when leaving messages on voicemails and answering machines.

The issue arises from lawsuits that have been brought against collectors for violating third-party disclosure provisions of agreements when a third party gains access to voicemails. In essence, even when collectors followed the law, they were still in danger of breaking the law.

The new bill is poised to eliminate that liability by creating a code of acceptable language that collectors would use in voicemails. Frivolous lawsuits relating to the decision of Foti v. NCO Financials Systems have plagued the collection industry for years. The issue has become so bad that members of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals identified it as their number one problem. We will keep you posted on all upcoming news of the bill and the closing of this prevalent loophole in this new debt collection legislation.

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