Who can a debt collector call while trying to collect a consumer debt? As a general rule, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prevents a debt collector from communication with third parties. 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(b).
FDCPA Location Information
An exception exists where the debt collector is looking only for location information and is otherwise unable to find the consumer. As set forth in 15 U.S.C. § 1692b – Acquisition of location information, a debt collector shall:
- Identify himself and state he is confirming or correcting location information. Only if requested by the person can he identify his employer.
More importantly, the debt collector may NOT:
- State that the consumer owes any debt;
- Communicate with the person more than once (unless requested or the debt collector reasonable believes the earlier response was erroneous or incomplete AND the person has the complete information);
- Communicate by post card or include any language or symbol indicating the communication relates to debt collection;
- Communicate with anyone other than the consumer’s attorney (if represented), unless the attorney fails to respond.
FCCPA Third Party Contact
While the FDCPA applies only the third party collectors, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) applies to both debt collectors and original creditors. Specifically, Fla. Stat. §559.72 states that a debt collector or creditors may NOT:
- Disclose information to a third party concerning the consumer’s reputation (including personal financial information) without a legitimate business need or that is known to be false;
- Contact your employer (unless you give permission in writing, acknowledge the debt in writing, or a final judgment has been obtained);
- Communicate with a represented consumer (unless attorney fails to respond or debtor initiates the communication).
Third Party Disclosure Violations
If a debt collector disclosed personal information about your debt to a third party, you may be entitled to damages pursuant to the:
- FDCPA (third party debt collectors only) up to $1,000.00 and actual damages for embarrassment, humiliation, stress, etc.) and/or the:
- FCCPA (debt collectors and original creditors) up to $1,000.00 and actual damages embarrassment, humiliation, stress, etc.).
Both statutes shift the responsibility for attorney fees to the opposing side which allows Florin Legal, P.A. to accept cases without any upfront costs or expenses. Please contact Florida FDCPA Attorney Scott Florin for a free case evaluation or additional questions about unlawful third party contacts.