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Proposed changes to unfair debt collection law can impact debtors

For Indiana residents who are dealing with debt and have fallen behind in their payments, their worries go far beyond what they owe. They extend to the constant phone calls and notices in the mail with increasingly aggressive demands for payment. To shield these debtors, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has been in place for nearly four decades and remained essentially unchanged. Now, the Trump administration is proposing an update to the law that can affect debtors in significant ways.

Under the proposed laws, debt collectors will be able to contact debtors via email and text message. Debt collectors will also be limited in the number of times they can call a debtor per week. The new additions and changes to the law are meant to serve as an update based on how consumers communicate today.

FDCPA has certain rules that are designed to keep debtors from being unduly harassed. That includes debt collectors not being allowed to call at certain hours without permission -- before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Debt collectors are also stopped from making repeated and continuous calls to be annoying or to commit harassment to collect on the debt. Since most people have cellphones and use them in lieu of landlines while also relying on texts and emails, the goal is for debt collectors to have a better chance of getting in touch with the debtor.

Regarding calls, the limit under the new law will be seven per week. After speaking with the debtor, no call can be made for another seven days. Debtors will be allowed to opt out of emails and texts, but there is no limit on the number of messages debt collectors can send. The changes will also stop a debt collector from contacting a person on his or her social media accounts.

Debtors who are fearful and worried about their debt and how debt collectors go about contacting them must be aware of these proposed changes and how it can impact them. Regardless of the law, many debt collectors will push the limits as far as they can under the current limitations and any proposals for the future. To be protected from illegal tactics by debt collectors while finding solutions to get out of debt through bankruptcy and other means, debtors can consult with a law firm experienced in helping clients with debt and protecting them from consumer fraud.

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