CFPB Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Text and Social Media

RevSpring’s team of experts continue their review of the CFPB’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, with a special focus on text messaging. Text messaging continues to explode as a preferred communication channel – 95 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. RevSpring appreciates the CFPB’s efforts to update the existing regulatory guidelines and incorporate the communication channels preferred by many consumers.

RevSpring’s technology experts have successfully developed and deployed a text messaging solution since 2009. Additionally, we’ve invested $16 million since 2017 in developing electronic and self-service technology solutions that improve the consumer experience, drive payments and lower collection costs. As the rules are finalized, our team will ensure continued compliance enabling your organization to use text messaging as part of an omni-channel solution.

RevSpring’s Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel Rob Horwitz has conducted a through review of the proposed rules and below is a summary of the proposed rules relating to text messaging and social media:

Text

TopicRequirementsRevSpring Solution
Opt-outEvery communication must include a clear and conspicuous statement describing one or more ways a consumer can opt-out of future communications to that phone number. For example, texts can include “Reply STOP to stop texts to this number.”All text messages instruct consumers to reply “STOP’ to cease further text message communications. A data file is returned (or made accessible) to your organization noting all unsubscribes to update the consumer communication preferences in your system of record. RevSpring’s text messaging solution will automatically block future text messages from being sent on behalf of that same client to the phone number from which we received the stop request.
TCPA RequirementsThe proposed rule does not supersede TCPA requirements or potential liabilities. You still must ensure you have the proper consent to send texts and should continue to scrub your telephone numbers through a reputable vendor to protect against sending a text to a reassigned number (i.e., a person from whom you do not have consent).RevSpring’s implementation team will collaborate with you to incorporate appropriate business rules based on the CFPB requirements.
Time and Place RestrictionsTime and place restrictions exist for text messages. Cannot send before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. local time for the consumer’s location. If the debt collector has mixed information regarding the consumer’s location (zip code places in eastern time zone and phone number places in pacific time zone), no liability if the debt collector sends the text at a time that is compliant for all “locations at which the consumer’s information indicates he/she might be located.”

From a time restriction perspective, text communication occurs when it is sent, not when it is viewed.

Your business rules will drive the timing for all consumer communication to ensure messages are not sent outside of the permissible window.
Text Messaging ChargesThe proposed rules state that it is not a violation of the FDCPA if a person incurs a charge for a text because that person can prevent the charge by opting out of text messaging.RevSpring’s current text messaging solution meets this requirement.
Record RetentionDebt collectors will need to retain records to demonstrate compliance for three years after a consumer communication has occurred or the account is transferred.RevSpring offers multiple record retention solutions and will continue to work with clients to identify and implement the solution best suited for your needs. Some solutions are hosted by RevSpring offering the convenience of the cloud, while others offer clients the ability to host the records on a server they control.

Social Media Platforms

TopicRequirementsRevSpring Solution
Social Media PostsMay not communicate with consumer using publicly visible social media posts.RevSpring’s solution does not include the use of social media posts, complying with this requirement.
Private MessagingMay communicate with consumer using the private messaging feature available in social media applications.RevSpring’s product team is assessing the viability of adding social media private messaging to its omni-channel solution.

Engaging consumers to meet their financial obligations in the current regulatory and legal environment is challenging. We are hopeful the finalized rules will be beneficial for all stakeholders, including your organization. Our legal and product teams will continue their detailed review of RevSpring’s technology in light of the proposed rules. We will ensure your organization has the ability to incorporate text messaging into an omni-channel solution, creating a positive consumer experience, driving response rates and decreasing your operational costs.

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