Stiffer regs hamper skiptracing efforts

DALLAS – Advancements in skiptracing technology have prompted state and federal regulators to step up oversight, and new and proposed legislation are top of mind for recovery and repossession executives, panelists said at the ALS Resolvion Innovations in Recovery conference Thursday.

On a federal level, recent developments include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed Rule of Seven (which would limit call frequency rules for debt collection) and uncertainty surrounding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The proposed changes to the federal legislation increases the hurdles for collectors in an unprecedented way.

“Those of you who have skiptraced – and know how many accounts you might be working – already have in the back of your head how difficult rules like this can be,” said Bryan Geist, a training specialist at Masterqueue, a web-based software solution that automates the skiptracing and collection process. “The amount of time that gets wasted on that far exceeds anything we would have seen in the past,” he said.

And that’s just federal legislation. State regulators, too, have stepped up skiptracing enforcement, which presents another hurdle for collectors, since legislation varies from state to state, Geist said. Below is a list of state-specific call regulations:

Massachusetts

  • 2 call attempts per week to debtor/co-signor
  • 2 calls per 7 days to home address of persons living with the debtor who are not the debtor or co-signor
  • 3 calls per year to persons living in Massachusetts who are not the debtor/co-signor and who do not live with the debtor/co-signor

New Hampshire

  • 1 call per 30 days to a spouse

West Virginia

  • 30 calls per week to any phone number
  • 10 contacts maximum per week

Washington

  • 3 contacts per week / 2 contacts on mobile device

Geist advised skiptracers and collectors to review the regulations regularly. “Figure out, ‘Are we keeping track of these,’ and ‘Does compliance care?’” Geist advised. “What happens if we violate these — the other side being you just get slapped with a multi-million dollar fine if you ever get audited.”

Join us for Auto Finance Summit 2019, October 28-30 at the Bellagio Las Vegas. The summit continues to bring together the best and brightest executives in auto lending and leasing for unparalleled networking and education. Register now at www.autofinancesummit.com. 

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