Despite a federal consumer protection law that has been on the books for more than 40 years, many debt collection agencies continue to cross the legal line by implementing debt collection tactics that at the very least, border on harassment and intimidation. From threatening to seize private property to impersonating a law enforcement official, third party debt collectors have plenty of incentive to violate one or more provisions of the landmark consumer protection law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Written into law by the United States Congress in September of 1977, the FDCPA bans previously legal debt collection practices such as using abusive language and deceiving consumers into taking care of outstanding credit card and personal loan accounts. The FDCPA also addresses more subtle debt collection techniques that include manipulating consumers by contacting third parties regarding personal debts.
How Does the FDCPA Address Third Party Contacts?
Under the FDCPA, it is illegal for a bill collector like CMRE Financial Services, Inc. to discuss your debt with a third party. The key word here is “discuss,” as the FDCPA does not place an outright ban on communications between debt collection agencies and third parties. For example, CMRE Financial Services, Inc. cannot contact a family member and ask, “Do you know when your daughter plans to take care of this debt.” CMRE Financial Services, Inc. also is prohibited from mentioning the last time you sent in a payment on a delinquent credit card or personal loan balance.
The third party provision of the FDCPA includes three exceptions to the no contact rule. As the most cited exception, a third party debt collector is permitted to contact a friend, spouse, or neighbor to obtain your current contact information. Although it is true that bill collectors receive contact information from original creditors, the amount of time that has passed can make your current contact information outdated. CMRE Financial Services, Inc. has the right to contact a third party to acquire your current address and the best phone number to reach you during the day.
Additional Third Party Violations of the FDCPA
Congress wrote the FDCPA to protect consumers against overly aggressive debt collection techniques. However, the same protections granted to consumers also cover third parties, such as your relatives and professional peers. CMRE Financial Services, Inc. cannot contact your spouse and threaten the spouse with legal action.
The debt collection agency is prohibited from calling a professional peer in the workplace, if your employer forbids calls made by third party debt collectors. Although a bill collector can contact a third party to obtain contact information, the company breaks federal consumer protection law if the representative from the company used foul language in an attempt to intimidate the third party.
Ask for Legal Help
Fighting back against CMRE Financial Services, Inc. on your own is a recipe for defeat. You need to balance the scale of justice by working with a licensed consumer protection attorney who has considerable experience litigating FDCPA cases. Schedule a free initial consultation with an FDCPA lawyer today to get the ball rolling on your case.
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*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 CMRE Financial Services, Inc. or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.