The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) includes a variety of laws that are designed to protect individuals from the abusive and harassing methods often used by debt collectors. One area of concern addressed by the FDCPA is safeguarding a debtor’s privacy. Consumers should never be subjected to public embarrassment or having their personal information shared by a collector.
Under the law, a debt collector is permitted to discuss your debt with you, the original creditor, a lawyer representing one of the parties, and a credit reporting bureau. Publicly disclosing your financial status in an effort to shame or embarrass you into paying the debt is prohibited. Further, a collector cannot:
- Share information about debtors with other agencies
- Distribute a listing of alleged individuals who owe debts to creditor subscribers
- Place advertisements for debts for sale
- Create a list of debtors for sale to other parties
- Leave messages with third parties, requesting that they encourage the debtor to contact the collector
Although a collector is permitted to contact you by mail, it must be sent only to the address where you reside or have designated to receive your mail. You cannot be contact by a collector with a postcard. Finally, there are restrictions regarding the envelope used by the debt collector. In general, the law requires collection agents to take reasonable steps to protect your privacy.
When a collector has your name and contact information, they must contact you directly. However, if the collection agent is contact other parties to ask how to locate you, the collector:
- Must identify himself by name, not as a debt collector
- Cannot inform others that you owe a debt
- Can only identify the name of the collection agency if directly asked about it
- Should only contact the friend or neighbor once unless the collector has good reason to believe that the party has new information
- Cannot leave information regarding your debt on an answering machine or voice mail service
If You Believe That a Debt Collector Has Illegally Violated Your Privacy, Contact an Experienced Attorney at Fitzgerald Campbell Immediately.
Contact our California Debtor Protection Law Firm with your questions, comments, and concerns, or for a free consultation. Speak to a CA credit card lawsuit and collection harassment lawyer at our firm today.