FDCPA Unusual or Inconvenient FAQ 5 – What are the exceptions to the prohibition on communicating at an unusual or inconvenient time or place?

Compliance > FDCPA
Q:  What are the exceptions to the prohibition on communicating at an unusual or inconvenient time or place?
 
A:   (UPDATED 7/27/2022)
 
There are three exceptions to the prohibition on communicating or attempting to communicate with a consumer about a debt at an unusual or inconvenient time or place:

1. Consumer-initiated communication. There is a limited exception if a consumer initiates a communication with a debt collector at a time or from a place that the consumer previously designated as inconvenient. The debt collector does not violate the prohibition on communicating at inconvenient times or places if the debt collector responds once at that time or place through the same medium of communication used by the consumer. After responding one time to the consumer-initiated communication, the Rule prohibits the debt collector from communicating or attempting to communicate with the consumer at that time or place until the consumer conveys that the time or place is no longer inconvenient, or another exception applies. 12 CFR § 1006.6(b)(1); Comment 6(b)(1)-2. During a debt collector’s one-time response to consumer-initiated communication a debt collector may inquire whether the consumer is revoking the inconvenient time or place designation.

2. Direct prior consent. There is an exception to the prohibition on communicating at an unusual or inconvenient time or place if the debt collector has obtained the consumer’s direct prior consent. This exception applies if the debt collector received the consumer’s direct prior consent during a communication that did not otherwise violate the prohibition on communicating at unusual or inconvenient times or places, the prohibition on communicating with a consumer represented by an attorney, or the prohibition on communicating with a consumer at the consumer’s workplace. The consumer must provide consent directly to the debt collector. A debt collector has not obtained the consumer’s direct prior consent if the consumer provided the consent to a third party, such as a creditor or a prior debt collector. Comment 6(b)(4)(i)-2. Furthermore, direct prior consent must be given in advance of the communication or attempt to communicate to which the consent is meant to apply. Direct prior consent does not apply to the communication in which it is given.

3. Court-permitted communication. There is an exception to the prohibition on communicating at an unusual or inconvenient time or place if the debt collector has the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction to communicate with the consumer about a debt at a time or place that would otherwise be considered unusual or inconvenient. 12 CFR § 1006.6(b)(4).

For more information on the prohibition on communicating at unusual or inconvenient times or places, see Debt Collection Unusual or Inconvenient Times or Places Questions 1-3 and Section 4.1 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide. For more information on the exception to this prohibition, see Debt Collection Unusual or Inconvenient Times or Places Question 5 and Section 4.4 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide.
 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
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/#validation-information
 

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