It started with a letter from a debt collection agency such as MRS Associates demanding that you pay off a long forgotten credit card account. How did the third party debt collector find you after all these years? The answer is by using the personal contact information supplied by the original creditor. In addition, the Internet is a solid resource for retrieving the contact information for just about anyone.
That makes sense, you think, but how did the bill collector find your next door neighbor, who recently told you a debt collection agency that contacted her regarding your debt. Once again, the Internet is the resource for your neighbor’s contact information. Type your address into Google’s search engine and watch the names and addresses of your neighbors pop up on the results page.
The question is not whether a third party debt collector can locate your neighbors. Instead, the question is can MRS Associates contact a third party regarding your debt?
How a Bill Collector is Legally Allowed to Contact a Third Party
Passed by the United States Congress, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collection agencies from contacting third parties regarding consumer debts. This means MRS Associates cannot contact your neighbor in any form to discuss your debt.
What the third party debt collector can do under the FDCPA is to contact a third party to inquire about your contact information. Although the Internet provides plenty of personal contact information, sometimes, the information is not accurate. The FDCPA allows bill collectors to contact a friend, neighbor, family member, or a professional peer one time to obtain your address and phone number.
Clear Violations of the Third Party Provision
There is a fine legal line between a debt collection agency calling your neighbor to obtain your contact information and violating the third party provision of the FDCPA. A third party debt collector might call your neighbor and lead off with the contact information question, and then follow up the first question with another question that discusses your debt.
Under the FDCPA, a bill collector cannot even allude to any element of your outstanding credit card or personal loan account. The company cannot ask a third party about your financial status, such as asking “Do you know how much debt Mr. Williams is in.”
The FDCPA clearly forbids debt collection agencies from discussing personal debts with anyone except you. What should you do if a third party debt collector got in touch with your neighbor to discuss a personal debt?
Contact a Licensed FDCPA Attorney
You must be proactive when it comes to dealing with an overly aggressive bill collector. When you learn that a company contacted a third party regarding your debt, the first thing on your to do list should be to reach out to a state licensed consumer protection lawyer that has successfully litigated numerous FDCPA cases.
Your attorney will speak with the third party to determine whether there is evidence like a tape recorded conversation that reveals blatant violations of the FDCPA.
Schedule a free initial consultation with an FDCPA lawyer to learn more about how the FDCPA makes it illegal for a bill collector to contact a third party regarding your debt.
*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 MRS Associates, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to compensation.