When Can a Debt Collector Talk About My Debt With Someone Else?

A man in suit and tie with his arms crossed.

By: Robert J. Nahoum

Are debt collectors calling your house and talking to someone else about your debt? Even worse, are debt collectors calling you at work? If so, they may have violated federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA).

What Can’t the Debt Collector Do?
Without your prior consent, the debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of a debt, with any person other than you or your attorney.

What Can the Debt Collector Do?
• Communicate as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post judgment judicial remedy.
• Acquire location information about the consumer.

If acquiring location information a debt collector must:

“(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.â€

If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue for statutory damages up to $1,000.00 plus actual damages (like pain and suffering) and your attorney’s fees.  In FDCPA cases, a good consumer lawyer won’t charge clients a penny out of pocket.