FDCPA Limited-Content Msg. FAQ 2 – Is a limited-content message a “communication?”

Compliance > FDCPA
Q:   Is a limited-content message a “communication?”
 
A:   No.
 
Under the Debt Collection Rule, a “communication” is defined as the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person 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. 12 CFR § 1006.2(d) and Comment 2(d)-1. An “attempted communication” is defined as any act to initiate a communication or other contact about a debt with any person through any medium, including by soliciting a response from such person. An act to initiate a communication or other contact about a debt is an attempt to communicate regardless of whether the attempt, if successful, would be a communication that conveys information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person. 12 CFR § 1006.2(b) and Comment 2(b)-1.
 
A limited-content message is an “attempt to communicate” but is not a “communication” under the Debt Collection Rule because it does not convey information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to a person. 12 CFR § 1006.2(b) and (d). Thus, a limited-content message is subject to the requirements and prohibitions that apply to attempts to communicate but not to the requirements and prohibitions that apply only to communications.
 
If, however, a debt collector does not include all of the required content, knowingly leaves the voicemail for anyone other than a consumer, leaves the message in a medium other than voicemail, or adds content beyond the required and optional content, the message is not a limited-content message. Instead, generally, that message is an attempt to communicate. 12 CFR § 1006.2(b). Additionally, if content is added to the message beyond the required and optional content, and the additional content conveys information about a debt, the message is a communication. 12 CFR § 1006.2(d) and Comment 2(j)-1.
 
For more information about limited-content messages, see Section 3.3.3 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide. For more information about the definitions of “attempt to communicate” and “communication,” see Section 3.3 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide.
 
Updated October 1, 2021

 
This Q&A was created based on information from CFPB’s website (which may be updated from time to time) that provides Debt Collection Rule FAQs.  This information may be found on CFPB’s website here:  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/compliance/compliance-resources/other-applicable-requirements/debt-collection/debt-collection-rule-faqs/
 

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