Tuesday, April 10

Can a Debt Collector call my inlaws?

Interesting question. Would I want my mother in law knowing that I was being pursued by a debt collector? NOPE!

Heather asks;

"Today one of the credit card companies that is trying to collect a debt from us called my in laws house looking for us. Am I wrong, but I was under the understanding creditors couldn't call family concerning a collection of debt. I'm guessing they maybe called because it was an old number for my husband, even though he's 36 and hasn't lived there since he was 17. I also thought they couldn't identify themselves to someone other then us, they didn't tell my in laws what the call involved, but did tell them who was calling.

Heather, based upon what you have described, it appears to have been a lawful collection call. What does the law say about this? A debt collector can call anyone as long as they have not been directed to contact the debtor only by mail, and as long as they do not disclose the details. The rules are found in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Sections 804 and 805 of the Act address your concerns. Section 804 is below. Click on the number 805 in the previous sentence to be directed to its language.

§ 804. Acquisition of location information [15 USC 1692b]

Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall --

(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information concerning the consumer, and, only 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.