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Comment for 1026.2 — Definitions

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2(b) Attempt to communicate.

1. Examples. Section 1006.2(b) defines an attempt to communicate as any act to initiate a communication or other contact about a debt with any person through any medium, including by soliciting a response from such person. An act to initiate a communication or other contact about a debt is an attempt to communicate regardless of whether the attempt, if successful, would be a communication that conveys information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person. For example:

i. Assume that a debt collector places a telephone call to a person about a debt. Regardless of whether the debt collector reaches the person, the debt collector has attempted to communicate with the person.

ii. Assume that a debt collector places a telephone call to a person about a debt and leaves a voicemail message. Regardless of whether the voicemail message consists solely of a limited-content message or includes content that conveys, directly or indirectly, information about a debt, the debt collector has attempted to communicate with the person.

2(d) Communicate or communication.

1. Any medium. Section 1006.2(d) provides, in relevant part, that a communication can occur through any medium. “Any medium” includes any oral, written, electronic, or other medium. For example, a communication may occur in person or by telephone, audio recording, paper document, mail, email, text message, social media, or other electronic media.

2. Information regarding a debt. Section 1006.2(d) provides, in relevant part, that a communication means conveying information regarding a debt. A debt collector does not convey information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person if the debt collector leaves only a limited-content message, as defined in § 1006.2(j). A debt collector who provides marketing or advertising that does not contain information about a specific debt or debts has not communicated under § 1006.2(d), even if the debt collector transmits the marketing or advertising message to a consumer, because the debt collector has not conveyed information regarding a debt.

2(h) Debt.

1. Consumer. Section 1006.2(h) defines debt to mean, in part, any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction. Section 1006.2(e), in turn, defines consumer to mean any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt. Only natural persons, therefore, can incur debts as defined in § 1006.2(h).

2(i) Debt collector.

1. In general. Section 1006.2(i) provides, in part, that a debt collector is any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or mail in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due, or asserted to be owed or due, to another. A person who collects or attempts to collect defaulted debts that the person has purchased, but who does not collect or attempt to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due, or asserted to be owed or due, to another, and who does not have a business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, is not a debt collector as defined in § 1006.2(i).

2(j) Limited-content message.

1. In general. Section 1006.2(j) provides that a limited-content message is a voicemail message for a consumer that includes all of the content described in § 1006.2(j)(1), that may include any of the content described in § 1006.2(j)(2), and that includes no other content. Any other message is not a limited-content message. If a voicemail message includes content other than the specific items described in § 1006.2(j)(1) and (2), and such other content directly or indirectly conveys any information about a debt, the message is a communication, as defined in § 1006.2(d). For example, a voicemail message that includes a statement that the message is from a debt collector and a request to speak to a particular consumer is not a limited-content message because it includes more than the required or permitted content.

2. Message for a consumer. Section 1006.2(j) provides, in part, that a limited-content message is a voicemail message for a consumer. A message knowingly left for a third party is not a limited-content message because it is not for a consumer. For example, assume that a debt collector has a telephone number that the debt collector knows belongs to the consumer’s friend. A voicemail message left after calling that number is not a limited-content message, even if the message includes no more than the content described in § 1006.2(j)(1) and (2) because the debt collector knowingly left the message for someone other than the consumer. Other provisions of this part may, in certain circumstances, restrict a debt collector from leaving a limited-content message or otherwise attempting to communicate with a consumer. See §§ 1006.6(b) and (c) and 1006.22(f) and their related commentary for further guidance regarding when a debt collector is prohibited from attempting to communicate with a consumer.

3. Meaningful disclosure of identity. A debt collector who leaves only a limited-content message for a consumer does not violate § 1006.14(g)’s requirement to meaningfully disclose the caller’s identity with respect to that voicemail message.

2(j)(1) Required content.

1. Example. The following example illustrates a limited-content message that includes only the content described in § 1006.2(j)(1): “This is Robin Smith calling from ABC Inc. Please contact me or Jim Johnson at 1-800-555-1212.”

2(j)(2) Optional content.

1. In general. Section 1006.2(j)(2)(iv) provides that a limited-content message may include a statement that, if the consumer replies, the consumer may speak to any of the company’s representatives or associates. A message that includes a more detailed description of the representative or associate group is not a limited-content message. For example, a reference to an agent with the “credit card receivables group” is not a limited-content message because it includes more than a statement that the consumer’s reply may be answered by a representative or associate.

2. Example. The following example illustrates a limited-content message that includes the content described in both § 1006.2(j)(1) and (2): “Hi, this is Robin Smith calling from ABC Inc. It is 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 1. Please contact me or any of our representatives at 1-800-555-1212 today until 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, or any weekday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.”