A Closer Look at Call Procedures and Compliance
The Mini Miranda statement is a requirement necessitated by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). In essence, the statement lets the customer know that “this communication is from a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”
This requirement provides a way for collectors to easily and quickly let the customer know the purpose and intention behind your communication. Whether you are connecting with your customers over the phone or in writing, this declaration is mandated by the FDCPA and cannot and should not be avoided.
What’s the Purpose of the Mini Miranda?
Like the rest of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the Mini Miranda is a proactive measure to protect your customers from unfair debt collection practices. And while it may seem like a bit of a hindrance on your agents’ ability to continue communication with some customers, it can also be a major benefit because using this short statement can easily let your customers know the severity of the communication.
The Mini Miranda should be part of your regular communications, whether they’re in writing or via the phone. Instead of seeing it as a bother, help your agents understand how to utilize this proactive measure to prevent costlier repercussions in the future. Consistently utilizing the Mini Miranda helps to prevent lawsuits and avoid compliance issues. So what’s the worst that can happen? Unfortunately, that depends on what state your agency is in.
Use the Mini Miranda as Part of Your Process
Failing to follow the stipulations set out by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act can expose your business to an expensive legal situation, which is why your agents should actively use the Mini Miranda in all communications with customers.
Several states have their own laws and regulations in reference to Mini Miranda disclosures, including Connecticut, Georgia, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, and West Virginia. If you have customers in these states, be sure to look at the specific rules and regulations and make them part of your regular practices. Most are standard, such as “a consumer collection agency shall not use any false, deceptive or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt,” while others provide some leniency for specific institutions.
Make the Mini Miranda a Priority
The best way to ensure that you stay compliant with the FDCPA’s Mini Miranda requirement is to make it part of your training program, keep it in all of your scripts, add it into your regular audit, and keep it at the forefront of your priorities. If you do all of this, you’ll be able to prove that you’re doing everything you can to ensure that this regulation is followed and may be able to use a Bona Fide Error Defense in the event that this is missed during one of your communications.
For more information on the Bona Fide Error Defense, check out our article “The Hidden Benefit to A+ Compliance Practices: Why You Should Always Be Able to Prove a Bona Fide Error Defense.”