By the Division of Banks

Non-Identifying Communications

A non-identifying communication includes any communication with a person other than the debtor in which a collection agency does not convey any information other than an inquiry limited to determining a convenient time and place to contact the debtor, pursuant to 209 CMR 18.03. Under that regulation, communication includes conveying information directly or indirectly to any person orally through any medium excluding non-identifying communications.

Engaging any person in non-identifying communication via telephone with such frequency as to be unreasonable or to constitute harassment to such person under the circumstances, and engaging any person in communications via telephone, initiated by the collection agency in excess of two calls in each 7-day period at a consumer debtor's residence and two calls in each 30-day period other than at a consumer debtor's residence, for each debt, constitutes unfair or deceptive acts or practices pursuant to 209 CMR 18.16(3)(d).

It is the position of the Division that if a creditor reaches an answering machine and leaves a message stating the name of the collector, a toll-free number, and an inquiry for a convenient time and place to contact the debtor, such act would constitute a communication and would thus be subject to the limitations set forth in 209 CMR 18.16(3)(d).