[Updated 9/8/2020 at 2:40PM Eastern: See update below.]

In response to Hurricane Laura, the State of Louisiana enacted a state of emergency which, among other things, prohibits any form of telephonic solicitation. The prohibition will remain in place until the state's Emergency Operations Center lifts it. While there was initially some confusion about whether this prohibition applies to debt collection calls, an ACA Member Alert clarifies that debt collection calls are included.

Initially, Louisiana's Public Service Commission Do Not Call Program Manager Brenda Headlee informed the industry association that debt collection calls were not encompassed by the state of emergency. Unfortunately, Headlee's office had uploaded the wrong statement to its website and provided an incorrect interpretation of the rule to the association. The corrected statement is now on the state's website, and, according to ACA, the new statement encompasses debt collection calls.

There is some question about the applicability considering the definition of "telephone solicitation" in Lousiana's Do Not Call Program General Order. In the order, telephone solicitations include calls for several purposes, including "for the purpose of encouraging an extension of credit for property, consumer goods, or services; ... or services or an extension of credit for such purposes, or for the solicitation of a contribution to a charitable organization." However, the general order does carve out an exception for calls "[p]rimarily in connection with an existing debt or contract, payment or performance of which has not been completed at the time of such call."

Update: insideARM has heard from several sources that Ms. Headlee that collection calls are to stop during the pendency of the emergency order, and that it will likely expire later this week.

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