Hearing Examines Use of New Technologies in the Consumer Collections Process.
On April 28th, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a day-long public workshop in the nation’s capital to consider the impact of technological advances on the consumer debt collection system.
The workshop explored how ever changing technology affects the ways debt collectors can communicate with consumers and how emails are being used by collection agencies in the collection process. The burning question – are email notices regulated by, or do they fall outside, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) enacted in 1977, long before the invention of email?
Among other panelists, Zafar Khan, RPost’s CEO, spoke on the use of email technologies and how some special email services may be used in compliance with the law and with features that satisfy consumer protection concerns that may arise from email use.
Cell phones, fax machines, email, instant messaging and the internet … none of this everyday technology existed over 30 years ago when the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) took effect, yet collectors using these means could still face stiff penalties for noncompliance with the antiquated law. Given the mix of stake-holders directly impacted by public policy and regulations relating to debt collection practices and the unfamiliarity with electronic laws, the pros and cons analysis of employing email in the debt collection business model can quickly become bogged down with misinformation.
Consequently, the FTC chose to look to RPost and its CEO’s expertise to set the record straight as it relates to email and the law.
Legal opinions on the RPost technology were presented and reviewed in an official forum and will now be available via the official FTC distribution network – collection agents, trade industry, the legal community involved with collections / consumer protections and the organized consumer protection interest groups.
As collectors gain familiarity with the electronic statutes, they quickly learn the shortfalls of plain vanilla email and standard email encryption services that just aren’t compliant with FDCPA and sending registered and certified emails for collections begin to make more and more sense. Because RPost’s email services provide a Registered Receipt email record for each Registered Email message sent, the sender is automatically provided with verifiable legal and court-admissible records that serve as proof of delivery, content and official time stamp with options that allows for the consumer to also be protected as a “good will” gesture.
To underscore the interest in this hearing, the entire eight hour session was streamed live on the Internet for those unable to attend in person.