CFPB FDCPA – What is meant by “communicate” or “communication?”

Compliance > FDCPA
Q:   What is meant by “communicate” or “communication?”
A:   The Debt Collection Rule defines “communicate” or “communication” to mean the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium. 12 CFR 1006.2(d). A communication can occur through any medium, including any oral, written, electronic, or other medium. For example, a communication may occur in person or by telephone, audio recording, paper document, mail, email message, text message, social media, or other electronic media. Comment 1006.2(d)-1.

Additionally, a communication can involve conveying information regarding a consumer’s debt to any person (i.e., any natural person, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company), not just a consumer.

Marketing or advertising that does not contain information about a specific debt or debts is not a communication under the Debt Collection Rule, even if a debt collector transmits the marketing or advertising message to a consumer. Comment 1006.2(d)-2.
Limited-content messages, which are discussed in Section 3.3.3 of the small entity compliance guide, are not communications for purposes of the Debt Collection Rule.
This Q&A was created based on information from the CFPB’s Debt Collection Rule Small Entity Compliance Guide - April 2021 (which may be updated from time to time).  This may be found on the CFPB’s website here:

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