The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a new rule aimed at updating and clarifying the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). After it takes effect, debt collectors in North Carolina and throughout the country will be allowed to contact debtors by text messages or email. There would be no limit to the number of messages that they would be able to send.

Why the new rule is being issued

According to the CFPB, much has changed since the FDCPA was passed in 1977. At the time, people didn’t communicate by email or use their phones to send or receive voicemail or text messages. The trade association ACA International said that the update was justified because consumers generally like being able to get important updates by email or text message.

Consumers could be vulnerable to harassment

Consumer advocates claim that debtors could face harassment from debt collectors who have significant leeway to contact them. In addition to text and email messages, an individual can receive up to seven phone calls per week about a past due balance.

Those who pay for text messages as they receive them could face an extra financial hardship if the new rule goes into effect. It is currently scheduled to do so at some point in late 2021. However, a representative from the Americans for Financial Reform says that individuals can ask that debt collectors refrain from sending email or text messages.

If you are having trouble staying current on a personal loan or other unsecured debt balance, it may be in your best interest to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy may allow you to have some of those amounts discharged, enabling you to get a fresh start.