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.