[NOTE that comments reported in this section may have originally been made under another subtopic. Similarly, comments originally made on this subtopic may be reported in another, more relevant section. Information in parentheses comes from commenter response to interest survey; the “servicemember” designation may apply to the commenter or someone in their family. Numbers in parentheses for industry-perspective commenters refer to number of people involved in debt collection in the firm.]
Consumer experiences with calls outside the permitted times:
“I have received calls from debt collectors at 9:30 pm, and I consider this rude. I have also had robocalls early in the morning that woke me up. I am 69 yrs old, and retired, and I sleep late. My health is not good at the moment, so sometimes I have had a bad night - please, please don't wake me up with a robocall.” (62 or older)
“FDCPA 805(a)(1) is routinely violated by at least two large banks--Citicards and Wells Fargo. … I live in the Central Time Zone and no matter where these banks are based, they ignore that and call early and late.”
The time zone problem. Among consumer commenters, there seemed to be agreement that the mailing address provided on the application for credit (or other “address of record”) should be the standard creditors must use for determining permissible times – especially since “people move from one locale to another without changing their [cell phone] area codes.” “[T]here should be reasonable time to call and based upon the time zone you LIVE IN not based on the area code of your mobile phone number.” Commenters debated how easy it was to distinguish land lines from cell phones. Some asserted it couldn’t be done; another asserted, “It is pretty easy to distinguish landline from cellphone -- google the number, that tells you.” No industry-perspective commenters addressed this question.
One commenter (creditor collecting own debts; <20; affiliation with credit union) argued for better information collection, initially, by the creditor: “a break-out of phone types should be part of the ‘Solutions ‘. Example Home designated area, Work designated area and Mobile-cell as well. Three separate 'Solutions" therefore giving an increased likelihood of calls to be within what the statue requires.”
Proposed new time restrictions.
- Weekends. One consumer questioned why there aren’t different time restrictions for weekends. “This past weekend I was woken by a call from Midland Debt Collection at 8:10am on a Sunday morning on my cell phone.” Another agreed, urging that the hours should be noon-5 pm. One commenter urged that Sunday calls should not be permitted at all, on the same theory as “blue laws” preventing certain businesses from Sunday operation.
- Permissible hours. One consumer argued that the permissible calling period should be shortened: Calls should not be permitted before 9 AM and should stop at 8 PM. Another consumer agreed with an earlier cutoff time, telling of his/her experience: “[T]he time that they call is 10pm or 9pm. I believe that is too late to call.” A third consumer suggested: “Creditors should only be allowed to call between the hours of 9am until 7pm local time unless they have written consent (maybe even a web form) that gives them a minimum 3 hour window in which to call.”
(consumer; income beneficiary of an original creditor). “There appears to be a double standard between the debtor and collector. I have received calls after business hours and sometimes even on a Sunday from a mortgage servicer, whom I will not disclose. This particular servicer has even left an anonymous type of flyer (one that can be hung on a doorknob) with instructions to call the specific servicer's customer service phone number; without disclosing the name of the servicer, although I was already familiar with the phone number. I would classify this as mail fraud because it bypassed the mail system. The same scenario with the service of process regarding my old school loan. The service of process bypassed the mail system These are both issues that should be resolved collectively by and among the FCC, FTC and DOJ (not all inclusive). A debt collector can call the debtor from a phone number outside of the collector's company so it won't be included in the company's phone log. If the debtor attempts to return the phone call, the number is either inoperable or not able to receive incoming calls. Collectors may even call a debtor in order to attempt them to give personal information about lowering the interest rate on their credit card (even if the debtor doesn't have a credit card). It is obvious or apparent that there may be a credit card floating around in the debtor's name unknowingly. These are all scenarios I have experienced. We haven't gotten to the subject of sharing a debtor's information among the debtor's financial institution and the financial institution's correspondent institutions and investment advisor affiliates and other business combinations of the debtor (public utilities companies, mortgage servicers, insurance companies, pension fund mgrs, etc...)”