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Debt Collectors Are About to Call You Less, But Text You More

If you’ve ever had to deal with a debt collector, you know they can be some of the most aggressive calls you’ve ever received. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking steps to cut down on those, but it will come at a cost.

The federal agency unveiled a plan revising how debt collectors can contact people, limiting calls, but opening the gates on their ability to text and email, along with other forms of electronic communication.

The draft of the new rules would limit debt collection calls to seven per week—and once you’ve spoken with a collector, they wouldn’t be allowed to call you again for at least a week. Currently, there is no limit on the number of times a collector can call.

There’s no cap, however, on how frequently they can email or text people who owe money. Consumers can opt out of the electronic communications, but that gives collectors several new avenues to pursue people in debt.

Consumer rights advocates aren’t happy with the agency’s proposed changes, saying the seven-call limit only applies to certain types of debt and noting that if people owe money to several companies, they could still be flooded with calls. (Some advocates were hoping for a limit of three calls per week.)

The public has 90 days to comment on the proposal before any final regulation will be issued.

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