In our last blog, we provided an example of what the compliant E-Sign disclosures and consent look like so that you can send the statutory Notices via electronic meaning (email and text message). Now that we know what to send, let’s discuss how you can use your accounts receivable management system to deliver the disclosures and gain E-Sign consent.
With continued input from our guest author, Joann Needleman of Clark Hill, we hope to break down E-Sign and electronic communications into understandable tasks that can be set up easily and followed for your compliance program.
A series of Compliance Conversation articles continues to dissect the mysteries around electronic communications. Today’s article addresses how to send an electronic validation notice with E-Sign consent. Subsequent articles will look at how to manage electronic communication consent using your Consent Management Software.
Electronic Communications Consent Is Not E-Sign Consent
First, it is vitally important to understand that the consent to email or to use a text message is different from E-Sign consent. E-Sign consent is only required for the 3 statutory notices; and at the same time, you can include consent for general electronic communication.
In order to deliver the disclosures required for E-Sign electronically, you will still need the consumer’s consent to communicate electronically.
How do you get that consent?
A Strong “Handshake” Can Go A Long Way
If your client is willing to provide a “handshake notice” to the consumer, the name of your agency will have already been communicated to the consumer along with information on their debt from your client, the creditor.
If a consumer is hesitant, you can offer to send the notice via a “Flow” directly from the DAKCS Beyond ARM system. Most consumers will, at that point, hop on the internet and look up your website.
If your website has an option for the consumer to authorize electronic communication, provide a non-work email address or personal cell phone number, or both; you can collect consent from your website and automatically send the disclosure to a batch of consumers at once with QwikFlow.
When they review, sign and return the disclosures (all done electronically), you will then have valid E-Sign Consent with almost no manual labor. At that point, you can deliver the Validation Notice electronically so you may be able to cut printing and mailing costs in half.
Traditional First Contact with a Twist
Do you prefer to make the first contact with the consumer via telephone call? If you successfully reach the consumer, verbal consent (recorded, of course) is just as valid as a written agreement for electronic communications.
Under the proposed rules you can verbally deliver the disclosure requirements for E-Sign but they are so long that they would be a little difficult verbally. At the point of verbal authorization for communication, however, the collector can easily use the DAKCS system to generate an individual “Flow” (text or email) to the consumer, including the E-Sign disclosures and a consent form.
The consumer can review, sign and return the disclosures while still on the phone with the collector. If they immediately sign the consent, then you are free to follow up with an emailed or texted Validation Notice.
Without completing the authorization process, however, you can’t send the Notice electronically. The Validation Notice needs to be mailed and received back within 5 days of the first contact.
Electronic Communications Covered by Original Contract
Many creditors are starting to pass the consumer’s email address to collection agencies along with the rest of the debtor information.
- If you decide to make the first contact through email, keep in mind that the E-Sign required disclosures must first be delivered to the consumer.
- If you email a “Flow” to the debtor, make sure to include the required disclosures as the first part of the Flow.
- After sending disclosures, request a signature on the Consent Statement (which must be accepted prior to moving on), and then you can add the Validation Notice.
- Flow reporting will document the fact that the consumer has opened and reviewed the message even if they don’t provide express consent for future communication.
New and Underused Chat Features
Do you have “chat” on your website? If you do, you can easily get consent to electronic communications over the chat.
- The consent for electronic communication is retained in the installed Chat program on your website.
- The collector will get the name and account number of the consumer during the chat, look up their account and send a “Flow.”
- The Flow as described above, can deliver the E-Sign disclosures, acquire a signature on the consent form and deliver the Validation Notice.
- If the consumer indicates their willingness to pay in your chat, you can even include a payment request in the Flow.
- The system is highly customizable and can cover most all situations if this direct approach does not suit your workflow.
There are a lot of different ways to achieve E-Sign consent and general electronic communication consent.
If using Beyond ARM, then your system already has a great deal of flexibility built-in, so many of these ideas can be achieved quickly.
If you have a workflow that you would like to implement and aren’t sure how to do it, email or call our support team and we will work with you to achieve your desired results. Learn more about QwikFlow today.
Stay tuned for the next article: Managing Electronic Communication Consent with the DAKCS system.
After learning what the required disclosure looks like, we can explore how the DAKCS Software System can help you send the disclosure and obtain consent.
To stay in the compliance forefront, get the latest information today.
Past articles include:
- DAKCS Difference in Action: Partnering on Washington State Interest Change
- Getting an ROI from the Limited Content Message
- Navigating the Safe Harbors of the NPR
- Is the CFPB’s Proposed Validation End Date a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?
- 5 New Data Points of the Validation Notice Under the Proposed Rule