What Exactly Can A Debt Collector Say To Your Relative Or Neighbor?

23 Jun What Exactly Can A Debt Collector Say To Your Relative Or Neighbor?

Debtors come in my office saying that a Debt Collector is calling their mother, their grown siblings, or their neighbor, trying to (1) get the Debtor to call the Debt Collector back or (2) to get an address for them. The Debtor feels harassed and embarrassed. Guess what?!? That is exactly what the Debt Collector is trying to do–embarrass you into paying the debt so the phone calls to friends/family/neighbors will stop.

The Debt Collector’s behavior in trying to collect a debt is governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, however. The Act provides that a Debt Collector my contact third parties only to obtain location information. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else.

If a debt collector is calling your mother, asking for your address/phone number, that particular contact is probably okay — as long as the Debt Collector doesn’t start telling your mother that you owe money.

If a Debt Collector is calling your neighbor and asking them to put a note on your door, the Debt Collector is violating the FDCPA. If the Debt Collector is asking anything other than location information, it is a violation. If the Debt Collector is calling a neighbor, the Debt Collector already knows where the Debtor lives. The Debt Collector is violating the FDCPA.

If the Debt Collector asks your family member/friend to get you to call him back, he is violating the law.

If the Debt Collector leaves a message with your family member/friend, the Debt Collector is violating the law.

If you are getting messages like the above, you should seek out an experienced FDCPA attorney and discuss the phone calls with the attorney. You may be entitled to damages under the FDCPA.

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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