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A week ago—although it feels like its been an eternity—the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) adopted emergency rules prohibiting outbound debt collection calls and legal rememdies for 90 days during the pendency of the COVID-19 crisis. The emergency rules led to a lot of unanswered questions, so the AG issued an FAQ document on Friday, April 3, to fill some gaps.
To quickly summarize the FAQ clarifies that:
- First-party collectors and those collecting on behalf of a debt buyer are considered debt collectors for the purposes of the emergency rules.
- Debt collectors may still take inbound calls.
- Debt collectors may return a telephone call initiated by the consumer.
- Debt collectors may still send text messages and emails.
- The Supreme Court of Massachusetts tolled the statute of limitations for all legal claims.
- If a wage garnishment or other attachment was effected prior to March 26, then the garnishments can continue or, if the creditor/debt collector chooses, may be reduced or halted.
- The emergency rules halt all activities related to the repossession of vehicles.
There you have it, folks.