You Don't Have to Owe a Debt to be Protected by the FDCPA

15 Aug You Don't Have to Owe a Debt to be Protected by the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt.  It also protects “other persons.”  Other persons can be employers, creditors, relatives, friends, and neighbors affected by a debt collector’s violation of the FDCPA.

The National Consumer Law Center’s Fair Debt Collection manual cites an excellent example as follows:

“If a collector calls a consumer’s friend, asking him or her to talk to the consumer about a debt, both the consumer and the friend have standing to sue under the provision of the Act prohibiting third-party contacts.  On the other hand, if the collector calls the friend late at night, the consumer and friend have standing to sue under the provision of the Act prohibiting third-party contacts, but the friend does not benefit from the protection against late night phone calls because that provision only applies to communication with a consumer.  In an egregious case, however, the friend might successfully claim harassment or abuse under the general provisions of 15 U.S.C. Section 1692d or unfair means of collection under 15 U.S.C. Section 1692f.  In either example, if the debt collector had treated the friend as allegedly obligated, the friend would come squarely within the definition of “consumer.””

National Consumer Law Center, Fair Debt Collection, p 109 (5th ed. 2004).

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