You arrive home from work one day to find your spouse sitting at the dining room table. Your spouse informs you that a debt collection agency called not once, but several times throughout the day trying to resolve an outstanding debt. After the shock of hearing the bad news, you wonder if the third party debt collector crossed the legal line. The answer is found inside a groundbreaking federal consumer protection law enacted by the United States Congress.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a third party debt collector such as Bernstein, Shapiro, & Associates, LLL cannot implement harassing and intimidating debt collection tactics. A company responsible for collecting a debt owed to an original creditor like Visa or Macy’s is not allowed to threaten you in any way. The FDCPA also outlaws the once legal debt collection practice of frequently calling a consumer at odd hours of the day. Does the FDCPA ban the overly aggressive debt collection practice of contacting a third party?
The answer is yes, with a few exceptions.
When a Bill Collector Can Contact a Third Party
A third party that receives a phone call from a debt collection agency is typically someone you know like a friend, neighbor, family member, or professional colleague. Your spouse falls in the category of known third parties and the FDCPA makes it clear a debt collection agency cannot contact a third party to discuss your debt. However, if your spouse co-signed a credit card or a personal loan application, then a third party debt collector is not restrained by the FDCPA when it comes to contacting your spouse. By signing the bottom of a credit card or a personal loan application, you spouse assumed financial responsibility for making sure you pay off the consumer debt.
Know the Types of Third Party Provision Violations
The FDCPA clearly states that a bill collector is banned from discussing your debt with a third party. This includes using clear language, as well as making vague references to your debt. Clear language can include a question like “Do you know when your spouse will take care of this debt.” A bill collector cannot mention the amount of money you owe, and it certainly is not permitted to ask a third party to settle your financial obligation. Vague language that the FDCPA prohibits includes linking a consumer debt to your job security. If you have questions as to what types of third party violations the FDCPA covers, speak with a state licensed FDCPA attorney to ensure you receive all the rights granted by the historic federal consumer protection law.
Working with a FDCPA Lawyer
In addition to outlawing dozens of previously legal debt collection tactics, the FDCPA also gives consumers the right to file claims that seek monetary damages. If you endured considerable suffering because of the illegal actions taken by a bill collector, an experienced FDCPA attorney can ensure you have enough evidence to proceed with the filing of a lawsuit in a civil court.
Schedule a free initial consultation today with a consumer protection lawyer who specializes in handling FDCPA cases.
*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 Bernstein, Shapiro & Associates, LLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.