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New rules would give debt collectors more ways to contact people

One of the worst things about being in debt for many people is being hounded by creditors. Many creditors hire debt collection agents who harass debtors with frightening letters, angry phone calls and other high-pressure tactics.

Now, the Trump administration is trying to give debt collectors more ways to contact debtors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently proposed new rules that, if implemented, would allow debt collectors to send as many texts and emails as they want to debtors.

When Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 1977, it sought to rein some of the excesses of the debt collection industry. The law limits the ways debt collectors can contact debtors, forcing them to rely mostly on mail and telephone land lines.

Proponents of the new rules say changes are necessary because so much has changed in communication since the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was written. Many people no longer have land lines, and do most of their communication through text messaging and the Internet, they say.

Opponents argue that debt collection text messages are unusually intrusive. Unlike mail and land-line phone calls, text messages can reach people even when they are not at home.

One of the goals of debt relief is to stop creditor harassment. When a person files for personal bankruptcy, the court issues an order that is meant to put an immediate stop to all attempts by creditors to contact the person. Many people who file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy find that this order brightens their outlook right away.

Being in debt is stressful in many ways, but it is important to remember that help is available. An attorney with experience in debt relief can help people review their options for getting out of debt and returning to financial health.

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