Debt collectors say this is all about providing “better customer service” to borrowers. But of course, debt collectors aren’t working for borrowers. They also point out the FDCPA hasn’t been updated since 1977, when the technological landscape was very different.
The industry seems indifferent or uncaring of how they’ll make some people’s financial situations even worse. Customers with cell phone plans which charge for every text, for example, could end up having to pay fees for the “privilege” of having debt collectors contact them. Others have to live with limits, and so may not be able to maintain service throughout the month. And even giving debt collectors the right to make more calls than they already do could cause a great deal of harm.
“Over 15 million low-income households maintain essential telephone service through the subsidized federal Lifeline program. Lifeline phones typically provide 250 minutes of wireless service per month for the entire household. Excessive debt collection calls eat up the essential subsidized minutes that Lifeline households use to find work, access medical care, and communicate with childcare providers.”
If the debt collection industry succeeds in getting the leeway to contact you essentially anywhere and everywhere it will be essential for you to understand your rights. For example, you’ll need to know you can tell a debt collector to stop contacting you any time by sending them a certified letter informing them they may only contact you by mail.