Third Party Disclosure
Federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short) generally prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or unconscionable debt collection tactics when trying to collect a consumer debt. Prior to the FDCPA, one of the abusive debt collection tactics used by debt collectors was to embarrass consumers into paying an alleged debt by revealing that the debt collector was chasing after a consumer. For this reason, privacy and confidentiality are among the protections provided by the FDCPA.
Without prior consent given by the consumer, debt collectors are prohibited from discussing a consumer’s debt with anyone other than the consumer, his/her spouse or his/her lawyer. The only circumstance in which a debt collector is permitted to communicate with a third party is when such communication is reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy or to acquire location information about the consumer.
When communicating with a third party for the purposes of acquiring location information, the debt collector shall:
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, if expressly requested, identify his employer;
(2) not state that such consumer owes any debt;
(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 location information;
(4) not communicate by post card;
(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
(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.
The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum represents consumers who have been the victim of improper third party disclosures by a debt collector. In appropriate cases, we sue debt collectors and debt collection law firms in Federal District Court for violations of the FDCPA. Because the FDCPA is fee shifting (meaning that the debt collector pays our legal fees), we don’t charge our FDCPA clients a penny out of pocket.