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Comment for 1006.22 — Unfair or Unconscionable Means

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22(f) Restrictions on use of certain media.

Paragraph 22(f)(2).

1. Language or symbol. Section 1006.22(f)(2) provides, in relevant part, that a debt collector must not use any language or symbol, other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope when communicating with a consumer by mail. For purposes of § 1006.22(f)(2), the phrase “language or symbol” does not include language and symbols that facilitate communications by mail, such as: the debtor’s name and address; postage; language such as “forwarding and address correction requested”; and the United States Postal Service’s Intelligent Mail barcode.

Paragraph 22(f)(3).

1. Email addresses described in § 1006.6(d)(4). Section 1006.22(f)(3) generally prohibits a debt collector from communicating or attempting to communicate with a consumer by sending an email to an email address that the debt collector knows is provided to the consumer by the consumer’s employer. The prohibition does not apply if the debt collector sends the email to an email address described in § 1006.6(d)(4)(i) or (iii), which specifically contemplate debt collectors sending emails to any email address—including an email address that a debt collector knows is employer provided—if the consumer has used the email address to communicate with the debt collector about a debt (§ 1006.6(d)(4)(i)(A)), has provided prior consent directly to the debt collector to use the email address (§ 1006.6(d)(4)(i)(B)), or has obtained the email address from a prior debt collector who satisfied either § 1006.6(d)(4)(i) or (ii). A debt collector who sends an email to an email address described in § 1006.6(d)(4)(ii) complies with the prohibition in § 1006.22(f)(3) because the procedures in § 1006.6(d)(4)(ii) do not permit debt collectors to send emails to email addresses that the debt collector knows are employer provided.

Paragraph 22(f)(4).

1. Social media. Section 1006.22(f)(4) prohibits a debt collector from communicating or attempting to communicate with a person in connection with the collection of a debt through a social media platform if the communication or attempt to communicate is viewable by the general public or the person’s social media contacts. For example, § 1006.22(f)(4) prohibits a debt collector from posting, in connection with the collection of a debt, any message for a person on a social media webpage if that webpage is viewable by the general public or the person’s social media contacts. Section 1006.22(f)(4) does not prohibit a debt collector from sending a message to a person if the message is not viewable by the general public or the person’s social media contacts. Section 1006.6(b) or § 1006.14(h) nonetheless may prohibit the debt collector from sending such a message, and a debt collector who communicates by sending such a message about the debt to the wrong person violates § 1006.6(d)(1). See also comment 18(d)–1 with respect to communications and attempts to communicate with consumers and third parties on social media platforms.