The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), passed by the Federal Trade Commission in 1978, protects consumers against abusive and deceptive measures many debt collectors use.
Under this laws, collectors are held to strict rules dictating how they go about collecting the debt they’ve bought or been contracted to collect. If you don’t want to be contacted and/or you don’t want anyone else to be contacted regarding your debt, you must submit this request in writing.
If agencies continue to contact you after receiving the request, it is a violation of the FDCPA. Keep track of the calls you get and the calls your coworkers are getting. Make sure to record each and every time they contact you or a third party.
Why Debt Collection Agencies Contact Your Coworkers
Sometimes, collectors call your place of work for more than just your location. They know calling a couple coworkers will pressure you into paying the debt, whether it’s valid or not, because people will be talking about it. It can also threaten your job security if a supervisor finds out.
If debt collectors know where you work, they most likely know how to reach you, so to take care to find out the exactly how many people they’ve called, how many times they’ve called, and what information they revealed.
Restrictions for Debt Collectors Contacting Your Coworkers
Collection agencies are allowed to contact third parties, but their actions are very limited. First of all, like when dealing with you, they can’t harass your coworkers by calling excessively or using abusive or obscene language. They are only allowed to call once, unless they reasonably feel they can gain more or updated contact information or if you or a coworker or employer allows it.
They can only ask your coworkers about your location information. That is your home address and phone number and your work address and phone number. Since this is the only thing they can ask for, they shouldn’t be calling coworkers after they’ve found out that information or if they’ve already contacted you.
When they call anyone, including a coworker, they must truthfully identify themselves. Automated messages are forbidden. However, they can’t tell a third party the name of their company unless your coworker asks. If you coworker doesn’t pick up, they can’t leave messages on a third party’s telephone.
All of your account information is confidential, including the existence of the actual debt. Agents are not allowed to give out any personal information, including account numbers, addresses, phone numbers, or social security number. They also are not allowed to disclose the amount of the debt. They are never allowed to demand payment from a coworker, nor are they allowed to imply they want your coworker to pay the debt for you.
All of these restrictions apply, even if a coworker is making payments on a loan or has done so in the past.
How a Debt Collection Attorney can Help
If you feel that a debt collector has violated your FDCPA rights, you should contact a qualified attorney immediately. A lawyer will become the only point of contact for the collection agency. Once you notify a collection agency of legal representation, they are no longer allowed to contact you or any third parties.
A lawyer will help you gather your evidence, build your case, and defend you in court. If the debt collection agency is found guilty of violating the FDCPA, you could win $1,000, plus more for any damages you incurred. Your coworkers and any other third party contacts could also be entitled to receive damages for the collection agency.