FDCPA Telephone Call Freq. Rebutting Presumptions FAQ 1 – What factors rebut the presumption of compliance with the prohibition against repeated or continuous telephone calls or conversations?

Compliance > FDCPA
Q:   What factors rebut the presumption of compliance with the prohibition against repeated or continuous telephone calls or conversations?
 
A:   Under the Debt Collection Rule, to rebut the presumption of compliance, it must be proven that a debt collector who did not place telephone calls in excess of the telephone call frequencies nevertheless caused a telephone to ring or engaged a person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass a person at the called number:
 
Presumption of Compliance Rebuttal Factors. Factors that may rebut the presumption of compliance include but are not limited to:
  • Call frequency and pattern. The frequency and pattern of telephone calls the debt collector places to a person, including the intervals between the telephone calls. The considerations relevant to this factor include whether the debt collector places telephone calls to a person in rapid succession (e.g., two unanswered telephone calls to the same telephone number within five minutes) or in a highly concentrated manner (e.g., seven telephone calls to the same telephone number within one day). It may also be relevant if the debt collector concentrates telephone calls on days that may be less convenient for the consumer (such as Sundays or holidays). Application of this factor is not limited to rapid succession or highly concentrated calling, however, and is dependent on all of the relevant facts and circumstances that may indicate an intent on the part of the debt collector to harass, annoy, or abuse the consumer.
  • Voicemail frequency and pattern. The frequency and pattern of any voicemails that the debt collector leaves for a person, including the intervals between the voicemails. The considerations relevant to this factor include whether the debt collector left voicemails for a person in rapid succession (e.g., two voicemails within five minutes left at the same telephone number) or in a highly concentrated manner (e.g., seven voicemails left at the same telephone number within one day).
  • Content of prior communications. The content of a person’s prior communications with the debt collector. Among the considerations relevant to this factor are whether the person previously informed the debt collector, for example, that the person did not wish to be contacted about the particular debt, that the person was refusing to pay the debt, or that the person did not owe the particular debt.
  • Conduct in prior communications or attempts to communicate. The debt collector’s conduct in prior communications or attempts to communicate with the person. Among the considerations relevant to this factor are whether the debt collector used obscene, profane, or otherwise abusive language in any prior communications or attempts to communicate, used or threatened to use violence or other criminal means to harm the person, or called at an inconvenient time or place. The amount of time elapsed since any prior communication with the person may also be relevant to this factor.
Comment 14(b)(2)(i)-2.
 
These and other factors may be considered either individually or in combination with one another. The factors may be viewed in light of any other relevant facts and circumstances and therefore may apply to varying degrees. Comment 14(b)(2)(i)-2.
For more information about the prohibition against repeated or continuous telephone calls or conversations, see Section 7 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide. For more information about the presumptions related to telephone call frequency, see Debt Collection Telephone Call Frequency: Presumptions Question 1.
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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