Last week in Research Assistant (from insideARM), we discussed the potential FDCPA risk in transgender consumer communication. Is there a lot of nuance to this discussion? Yes. Should you consider this issue a potential FDCPA risk? Also, yes.
Consider this example: A customer tells one of your agents that they are transgender and have changed their name. Your agent asks this person if they have changed their name legally. The person says no. So, the agent tells them that they will continue to use the current legal name in all communication.
Is this harassment under the FDCPA? It might be.
In our peer call this week, we discussed how companies should think about what it means to communicate compliantly with transgender consumers. We also talked about whether the question starts and stops with whether there is a legal name change. Some Research Assistant members thought that was the only question to ask; others thought it was more complex.
It's going to be up to all companies to figure out their risk tolerance, but whatever you do, make sure to address this topic in procedures and training. You do not want your collectors to have to guess how to handle this situation if or when it comes up. And finally, think about how you can or should address this issue with empathy. Doing so will cost you little to nothing, but could make a big difference in your customer interactions and your potential risk.
Research Assistant will continue to dig into this topic. We plan to share materials and suggestions with members so they can develop their procedures soon.
Hey, wait! There's more where this came from
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