Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), as a general rule, debt
collectors are prohibited from communicating with third parties
regarding your debt. There are however a few exceptions to this
rule, but still require the collector to honor the debtor’s
privacy. For the most part,
collectors cannot contact your friends, neighbors, employers,
co-workers and even most of your family members when attempting to
collect a debt withstanding the few exceptions.
The third party
communication rule extends beyond merely talking to a third party.
For example, leaving messages on an answering machine that may be
heard by others could violate this rule. The first exception to
this rule is third party communication for the purpose of obtaining
location information. A collector may speak with a third party to
inquire about the debtor’s address or home phone number. During
this communication, the collector may not state that you owe any
debt. The collector cannot provide the name of the collection
agency unless asked, and the collector may not communicate with
the third party on more than one occasion.
The second exception to the
rule is when the debtor gives consent to the collector to speak
with a third party on his or her behalf. It is important to
understand that consent is valid only if you, the debtor, give it
directly to the collector. Even if someone is making payments on
your behalf, the collector cannot speak with that person unless
specifically authorized to do so. Third, a collector is allowed to
communicate with a few specific parties as explained in the
statute. These parties include, your attorney, credit reporting
agencies, the original creditor to whom you owe the debt, the
creditor or collector’s attorney, your spouse, your parent(s) or
guardian if you are a minor, the executor of your estate and/or a
co-debtor. 15 U.S.C. §1692c(b).
If you feel a collector has
communicated with a third party in its attempt to collect a debt
from you in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.