Q: What is a “limited-content message?”
A: Under the Debt Collection Rule, a “limited-content message” is a message that:
- Is a voicemail;
- Is for a consumer; and
- Includes the required content.
The required content includes the following:
- A business name for the debt collector that does not indicate that the caller is in the business of collecting debts;
- A request that the consumer reply to the message;
- The name or names of one or more natural persons whom the consumer can contact to reply to the debt collector; and
- A telephone number or numbers that the consumer can use to reply to the debt collector.
12 CFR § 1006.2(j).
In addition to the required content, a limited-content message may also include one or more of the following items of optional content:
- A salutation;
- The date and time of the message;
- Suggested dates and times for the consumer to reply to the message; and
- A statement that, if the consumer replies, the consumer may speak to any of the company’s representatives or associates.
Under the Rule, debt collectors must not, with some exceptions, communicate in connection with the collection of a debt with a third party. 12 CFR § 1006.6(d). Since a limited-content message is an attempt to communicate and not a communication under the Debt Collection Rule, as discussed in Debt Collection Limited-Content Messages Question 2
, a debt collector who leaves only a limited-content message does not violate the prohibition against third-party communications. 12 CFR § 1006.2(b) and Comment 2(d)-2.
In addition, leaving a limited-content message does not violate the Debt Collection Rule’s requirement to meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity with respect to that voicemail message. Comment 2(j)-3.
Updated October 1, 2021