If you are in a significant amount of debt and have started receiving notices from debt collectors trying to collect it, you are likely worried about many things. Most obviously, you are worried about how you are going to repay the debt, but you may also worry about the actions debt collectors take against you. You may even be concerned that the debt collector will call people you know, such as your family, friends, or even your employer. This is embarrassing and can make things uncomfortable in your personal and work life. So, when you owe a debt collector, who can they call to recover the debt?
Contact Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that strictly prevents debt collectors from contacting certain people about your debt. The only exception to this is when the debt collector cannot locate you and needs to contact people you know to get in touch with you. In this instance, a debt collector may call your family, friends, or employer, but they are still limited in what they can say. In these instances, a debt collector can only identify themselves and state that they are trying to confirm or correct your location information. They cannot state who they work for, unless they are specifically asked by the person they contacted.
Even when debt collectors lawfully contact someone you know under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the law is still very strict regarding what the debt collector may and may not say. Although they are allowed to state that they are trying to correct missing information, they may not tell anyone that you owe debt, and they are certainly not allowed to disclose the amount of debt you owe.
Debt collectors also cannot communicate with third parties using a postcard, letterhead, or anything else that may indicate that the communication is in reference to collecting on a debt. It is also against the law for debt collectors to talk to anyone, including when correcting location information, except the borrower’s attorney when they are represented by legal counsel. Again, there is an exception here and that is when the borrower does not have a lawyer.
Contact Under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act
It is crucial that borrowers understand that while the federal law only applies to third-party debt collectors, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act is applicable for both debt collectors and the original creditor. This means that under federal law, you are only protected if the original creditor has sold your debt. Under Florida’s Act, everyone in the state is afforded the same protections, regardless of who holds the debt.
Under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, both debt collectors and original creditors are prohibited from communicating with a third party regarding the borrower’s reputation, including any information regarding their personal financial situation, unless they have a legitimate business need. Debt collectors and creditors are also prohibited from telling third parties any information they know to be false.
The state’s act on debt collection also strictly prohibits debt collectors and original creditors from contacting your employer. However, there are some exceptions to this rule as well. If you have given permission for a collector or creditor to contact your employer, they are allowed to do so. You must provide consent in writing, and you must also acknowledge that your debt is the reason they can contact your employer.
Debt collectors and creditors can also contact your employer if you have already had a final judgment issued against you. For example, if a debt collector or creditor has filed a lawsuit against you to recover the debt, and they were successful with the lawsuit, they may have obtained a judgment for a wage garnishment. In this case, they must contact your employer to inform them to deduct a portion of your paycheck and send that portion of your check to them instead.
Lastly, debt collectors and creditors also cannot contact you if you are represented by an attorney. In these cases, debt collectors are only allowed to contact you if your lawyer does not respond to their communications, or if you initiate contact with the debt collector first.
Seeking Damages for Third-Party Disclosure Violations
Both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act allow individuals to collect damages when a debt collector or creditor discloses prohibited information to third parties. Under each act, a borrower can pursue $1,000 in damages when a third party discloses certain information. Borrowers can also seek damages for humiliation, embarrassment, and stress.
Of course, when you are suffering from an immense amount of debt, you may not want to pay an attorney to help you prove that a debt collector or creditor infringed on your rights. Fortunately, both acts allow you to hold the collector or creditor responsible for paying your attorney fees, so you can hold them accountable without losing anything or going further into debt.
It is crucial that borrowers understand their rights when it comes to creditors and debt collectors, and just as important that they know who to call when one of these parties has violated their rights.
Call Our Florida Debt Defense Lawyers Today
You have many concerns when you are suffering from a significant amount of debt, and one of those may be whether or not someone is going to call people you know about your debt. Fortunately, Florida law prohibits debt collectors and creditors from talking to anyone about your debt, so your privacy is protected. If a debt collector has illegally contacted someone about your debt, our Fort Lauderdale debt defense attorneys at Loan Lawyers are here to help. We have defended thousands of borrowers facing debt lawsuits, will inform you of the rights you are entitled to, and make sure that debt collectors uphold them. Call us today at (954) 807-1361 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Loan Lawyers has helped over 5,000 South Florida homeowners and consumers with their debt problems, we have saved over 2,000 homes from foreclosure, eliminated more than $100,000,000 in mortgage principal and consumer debt, and have recovered over $10,000,000 on behalf of our clients due to bank, loan servicer, and debt collector violations. Contact us for a free consultation and find out more about our money back guarantee on credit card debt buyer lawsuits, and how we may be able to help you.