The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed a rule to protect consumers against harassment by debt collectors, including medical debt, and provide avenues to address or dispute the debt, according to Kaiser Health News.
The rule would limit the number of calls debt collectors could make to reach consumers weekly; make it clear how collectors may legally communicate using voicemails, emails, text messages and other technologies that have developed since 1977, when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act passed; and require collectors to give consumers more information to help them identify debts and respond to attempts to collect overdue bills.
- Provide an avenue to dispute a bill
- Limit attempts to communicate via telephone with the patient to no more than 7 attempts in a 7 day period (does not limit text, email, or mail attempts)
- Prohibit attempts to communicate at times known to be inconvenient for the consumer
- Prohibit attempts to communicate after the consumer provides written request to cease communication
- Prohibit attempts to collect via email that should be known to belong to an employer
- Prohibit attempts to collect via social media platform viewable by a person other than consumer
- Text messages and emails must provide an opt-out option
- Allow for limited content messages by voicemail, text, or orally.
Link to Rule: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_debt-collection-NPRM.pdf