Before September 20, 1977, the debt collection industry was a free for all, with consumers getting nothing free except healthy doses of third party debt collector misery. Debt collection agencies were not legally restrained in any way to go hard after consumers. The companies used overly aggressive debt collection tactics to coerce consumers into settling outstanding credit card and personal loan balances.
Responding to years of consumer anger, the United States Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The monumental federal consumer protection law prohibits debt collection agencies from threatening to take the property owned by consumers. Some bill collectors threaten to seize private property to convince consumers that they have the legal power to convert private property into cash. The FDCPA also punishes debt collection agencies that impersonate the IRS and law enforcement agencies. One of the less publicized provisions written into the FDCPA forbids third party debt collectors from contacting someone you know regarding a consumer debt.
Three Exceptions to the Third Party Rule
Since the FDCPA became law in 1977, a few courts have changed the third party provision of the landmark federal consumer protection law. A bill collector like Aldous & Associates, PLLC can speak with a third party to obtain your contact information. In our highly mobile society, addresses and phone number change frequently. A debt collection agency has the right to update its information pertaining to your current address and phone number.
The FDCPA also makes an exception for a third party debt collector that contacts a friend or a family member that co-signed a credit card or a personal loan application. A couple of court rulings after the passage of the FDCPA give bill collectors the power to pursue the collection of debts by contacting the co-signees of credit card and personal loan applications. Consumer protection law views a co-signee in the same legal light as it views the primary borrower. Both parties are legally liable for paying off a credit card or a personal loan account.
When a Debt Collection Agency Crosses the Legal Line
Some bill collectors try to take advantage of the final exception to the third party provision of the FDCPA. If you grant permission for a company to contact a third party regarding your debt, then the company is not legally on the hook for making contact with a third party. However, you might have to deal with a debt collection agency that claims you gave the company permission to contact a third party, when in fact you did not grant permission. The best way to avoid this problem is by making sure any agreement you make with a third party debt collector is made in writing.
Reach Out to a Licensed FDCPA Attorney
You can rest assured that Aldous & Associates, PLLC will have a highly skilled team of lawyers on its side during an FDCPA dispute. You should balance the scales of justice by consulting with an experienced consumer protection lawyer who specializes in litigating FDCPA cases. Most FDCPA attorneys schedule free initial consultations with new clients to determine the most effective way to proceed with a case.
*Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Aldous & Associates, PLLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.