323 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
HOW TO OBTAIN EFFECTIVE CONSUMER CONSENT FOR DEBT COLLECTION COMMUNICATIONS
The impact of the economic downturn on companies and consumers, combined with the federal government's increased focus on consumer privacy in the age of expanding technology, has made debt collection more difficult and riskier than ever. ln response to an increase in delinquency in consumer debt, companies have had to implement or strengthen debt collection measures, including debt collection communications to debtors initiated either by the original creditor or by a third-party collection agency.
More consumers are using cellular phones as their primary means of contact, compelling creditors and debt collectors to direct their communications to mobile phones. While pre-recorded debt collection calls made to residential phones do not require prior consent, the TCPA requires that companies have "prior express consent," either verbally or in writing, to make pre-recorded or autodialed calls to mobile phones.
Consumer class actions under the TCPA asserting lack of proper consent for debt collection calls made to mobile phones are on the rise. These cases are costly to defend and carry the risk of enormous statutory penalties. How can companies obtain the required consent under the TCPA, while minimizing the risk of being sued and maximizing debt collection efforts?
ln this workshop, Christine M. Reilly, a partner of Loeb & Loeb LLP's Consumer Protection Defense Department, provides a brief overview of the consent requirements applicable to the debt collection industry as well as guidance and practical tips on how companies can obtain effective verbal or written express consent through various mediums, including telephone calls, SMS text messages, emails and websites.