If you are being contacted about a debt that is not yours, it could be a violation of your fair debt rights. Find out by submitting your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:
The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!
Gathering debtor's location information
3rd Party Contacts - Section 804
Debt collectors who use 3rd party contact to harass, embarrass
and intimidate you are violating FDCPA rules for contacting 3rd parties. Only
if they do not know your address, phone number, place of
employment and physical location, are they allowed to contact third parties.
Debt collectors communicating with any
person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location
information about the consumer shall:
804(1). Identify themselves, state
that they are confirming or correcting location information concerning the
consumer, and, only if expressly requested, identify their employer.
Although the FDCPA generally protects your privacy by limiting
debt collector communications about personal affairs to third parties, it
recognizes the need for some third party contact by collectors to seek the
whereabouts of the consumer.
This assumes the collector is talking to someone other than the
consumer such as a parent, sibling, neighbor, friend, employer and so forth.
Discussing or providing any other information violates the law thus opening up
the possibility of being sued for civil penalties. (See Debt Collection Civil Liability)
IMPORTANT: However, your spouse is not
considered a 3rd party and collectors are free to discuss your debt with
804(2). Not state that such
consumer owes any debt;
Individuals employed by a debt collector seeking location
information must identify himself, but must not identify his employer
unless asked. When asked, however, he must give the true and full name
of the employer, to comply with this provision and avoid a violation of section
An individual debt collector may use an alias
if it is used consistently and if it does not interfere with another party's
ability to identify him (e.g., the true identity can be ascertained by the
Telling a third party that you owe a debt is
illegal! First, it may not be true thus unjustly damaging your
reputation and second, it is simply nobody else's business.
804(3). Not communicate with any
such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless
the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person
is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete
Debt collectors may not refer to the consumer's debt in
any third party communication seeking location information, including those
with other creditors.
To prevent annoying or harassing phone calls, or phone calls
meant to embarrass you, the law says a debt collector may only call a
third party for location information once. The exception to this rule
is if the debt collector has reason to believe the information provided is
incorrect or misleading (the third party attempts to throw the collector off
the trail) then the collector may legally call back.
IMPORTANT: Once collectors have your location
information they have no legal reason to call a 3rd party; doing so violates
this section of the FDCPA.
804(4). Not communicate by post
Reference to debt collector's business (Section 804(5)).
A debt collector may not use his actual name in his letterhead or elsewhere in
a written communication seeking location information, if the name indicates
collection activity (such as a name containing the word "debt," "collector," or
"collection"), except when the person contacted has expressly requested that
the debt collector identify himself.
This rule is to protect your privacy; post cards can be viewed
by prying eyes. (see number 5 below)
804(5). Not use any language or
symbol on any envelope or in the contents of any communication effected by the
mails or telegram that indicates that the debt collector is in the debt
collection business or that the communication relates to the collection of a
debt; and FDCPA Discussion
Once again this is a privacy issue. It's possible the debt
collector has the wrong person so the FDCPA is written to protect against
damaging one's reputation by preventing the collector from advertising an
overdue debt to the public.
804(6). After the debt collector
knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject
debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney's name and
address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the
attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to the
communication from the debt collector.
Once a debt collector learns a consumer is represented by an
attorney in connection with the debt, he must confine his request for location
information to the attorney.
The key element here is that you or your lawyer must inform the
debt collector in writing. Afterwards, the debt collector may
only contact your lawyer.