Murphy’s Law is particularly relevant for Americans struggling with personal finances. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong when it comes to staying on top of personal debt. Some debt collection agencies like to take advantage of Murphy’s Law by squeezing consumers when they are the most vulnerable to aggressive debt collection tactics. From threatening to seize private property to impersonating law enforcement agencies, a number of third party debt collectors cross the legal line when it involves collecting the balances owed on credit card and personal loan accounts.
On September 20, 1977, the United States Congress wrote into law the most sweeping set of provisions that outlaw overly aggressive debt collection practices. Considered by many legal scholars to be the consumer Bill of Rights, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits bill collectors from threatening consumers in any way. The FDCPA also bars the long standing practice of impersonating the IRS and law enforcement agencies. According to the FDCPA, a debt collection agency such as Carson Smithfield, LLC cannot contact a third party regarding your debt.
Does the FDCPA Completely Ban Third Party Contacts?
The short answer is no, as the FDCPA and several court rulings have created exceptions to the third party rule. For example, a third party debt collector can contact a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or a professional peer to obtain your address and phone number. However, a bill collector is permitted to call the same third party just one time to collect personal contact information.
Another exception to the third party provision involves co-signees of credit card and personal loan applications. The FDCPA views a co-signee the same way it views the primary borrower, which means the co-signee of a credit card or a personal loan application is fair game for a bill collector to contact. A debt collection agency also is allowed to contact a third party, if you granted the company permission to contact the specified third party. A company cannot call anyone that is not on the list of people that you gave permission to call.
Types of Third Party Violations
Any letter sent to a third party, without your consent, is considered a violation of the FDCPA. In addition, a debt collection agency is prohibited from calling anyone you know that is not legally obligated to take care of a delinquent credit card or personal loan debt. What about the messages left by a third party debt collector on your home answering machine? Several court rulings since the passage of the FDCPA have ruled that voice messages constitute a violation of the third party provision of the FDCPA. The legal reasoning is that someone living in the home or even a guest can come across the message.
Consult with a FDCPA Lawyer
The FDCPA not only makes several previously acceptable debt collection practices illegal, the landmark federal consumer protection law also gives consumers the right to file claims that seek monetary damages for one or more FDCPA violations. Schedule a free initial consultation today with an accomplished FDCPA attorney to determine whether you have a strong enough case to file a lawsuit.
*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 Carson Smithfield, LLC, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.