Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has unveiled strong consumer amendments to Massachusetts' Debt Collection Regulations that will modernize existing regulations to include how companies may contact consumers by cell phone and through text messages. The regulations, which are expected to become effective later this year after a public hearing, will also regulate the way a "passive" debt buyer, or the company or person who does not originally own the debt, may conduct themselves. (The Debt Collection Regulations were implemented in the 1970's and had not been amended to keep pace with changing technology.) The proposed amendments expand the scope of the current regulations to, among other things, cover debt collection activities involving cell phone and text messaging; ensure that both active and passive debt buyers are subject to debt collection laws; prohibit creditors from attempting to collect a debt that is time-barred unless they make certain required disclosures to consumers with respect to such debts being collected. See the full Debt Collection Regulations here.
By Kenneth D. Quat, Massachusetts Consumer Rights Attorney.
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