A call from a debt collector is unwelcome and frightening for most people. If that same debt collector begins to call your friends, loved ones, and coworkers, then you're likely to be even more upset and even feel humiliated. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) limits who and when debt collectors can call. If you or people you know are receiving unwanted -- and possibly illegal -- phone calls from a debt collector, it's important for you to know what the FDCPA says about when debt collectors can call and who they can talk to.
Can debt collectors talk to friends, family and coworkers?
The answer to this question is yes, but with significant restrictions. Generally, a debt collector is only allowed to contact third parties, such as friends and coworkers, to find out your address, phone number, or place of employment. Crucially, debt collectors cannot say they are calling about an outstanding debt nor can they discuss that debt with the person they are calling. The only people they can discuss your debt with is you, your attorney, your spouse, or, if you're a minor, your parents or guardian.
Can I tell them to stop calling other people?
Yes. If you tell a debt collector to stop calling third parties, such as your employer, then they must respect that request. The only time they can then call a third party is if they have no other way to contact you and need such contact information.
What if I have an attorney?
If you have an attorney then you have an extra layer of protection against debt collectors. When you tell a debt collector that you have an attorney then that debt collector must stop calling you or any third parties and deal directly with your attorney. Your attorney represents you and works on your behalf. A debt collector that keeps trying to contact you and not your legal representative is breaking the law and engaging in harassment.
When can a debt collector call?
Finally, a debt collector does not have the right to call you at any time during the day or night. A debt collector is only allowed to call you or third parties between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. The only time a debt collector can call you outside of these hours is if you specifically agree to allow them to do so.
Being in debt does not mean you lose your legal rights. Debt collectors are not above the law and they must abide by the FDCPA and other rules governing debt collection practices. Unfortunately, debt collection harassment is all too common nowadays, but you do not need to fight the debt collectors alone. Contact Weisberg Law today to find out how we can help you uphold your rights and put an end to unwanted debt collection phone calls.