Debt collectors are intimidating to most people because they rely on invasive techniques to receive payments or funds from certain customers. For extreme collectors, they may even resort to improper fear tactics to receive the payment they want.
And now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows debt collectors to work through a new avenue to contact consumers, the internet.
Debt collections steps into the virtual world
The CFPB will implement a new rule where creditors may contact consumers through email, text messages, and even social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The rule won’t take effect for another year, but it already has significant implications on consumers dealing with creditor harassment.
Creditor harassment involves abusive practices on behalf of the debt collectors where they resort to intimidation, pressure or repetitive contact with you or your family members. This new rule opens up a whole new platform for collectors to continuously message and contact their consumers to a point that is harassment.
The bureau stated that consumers will be able to opt-out of electronic communication, but there are no details on how that process will work. The CFPB also will collaborate with social media platforms to determine how the procedure will work from the company’s perspective.
Some experts expressed concerns around the new communication rule because people may try to make payments they can’t afford because they want to stop collectors’ messages. It puts people in a dangerous situation where they might not pay for their food, rent or other essentials.
Luckily, there is a way to stop creditor harassment that doesn’t involve plunging into your finances. You can file for bankruptcy. If you do, debt collectors have to stop communication and work with you to determine a new payment structure. It will give you more options and time to pay back whatever debt you have.