Is it Illegal for Debt Collectors to Call Family Members?
It Is Legal For a Deb Collector to Call Family Members; However, Strict Rules Apply To Them
Debt collectors call family members for a variety of reasons. They could be looking for your phone number or address, or the reason could be more nefarious. They may reveal your debt to family members in order to embarrass you into paying, or they may try and convince your family to pay a debt on your behalf. You need to know your rights when it comes to debt collection calls to family members.
Fortunately, the Federal Debt Collection Protection Act (FDCPA) sets strict rules which can protect you, providing that you follow send required notices to the debt collector.
It is legal for a debt collector to call family members if he follows these rules.
A debt collector can only contact a family member to find out your location information and:
- He must Identify himself and state that he only wants to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work.
- He must identify his employer if asked.
- He cannot mention that you owe a debt.
- He can only make one contact unless the family member requests another contact, or he reasonably believes that the family member has new information about your location.
- He may not communicate by postcard.
- He cannot put any writing or symbol related to debts or debt collection on any paper he gives your family member.
- He can only contact your attorney after you give him your attorney’s contact information.
Here is what you must do to benefit from these laws:
- Notify the debt collector to stop contacting third parties. This may not stop all contacts, but it will put the debt collector on notice.
- Notify the debt collector in writing of the name and address of your attorney.
- Notify the debt collector in writing either that you refuse to pay the debt or that you want the debt collector to cease communicating with you. After he receives your notice, he is forbidden to contact you, your spouse, and your parent if you are a minor.
The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPB), the U.S. government consumer protection agency, has samples of letters you can use to write the debt collector at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-should-i-do-when-a-debt-collector-contacts-me-en-1695/his
If case the debt collector does not stop, you may decide to file a complaint or contact a consumer FDCPA lawyer. Therefore, you should keep copies of all notices you send the debt collector. Also keep all material you receive and keep a log of all telephone calls and text messages from the debt collector.
It is not legal for a debt collector to contact a family member to intimidate or harass you.
Some debt collectors are unable or unwilling to follow this strict law, especially if they believe your family is your soft spot. As examples, she may contact your family members multiple times, mention your debt to them, or continue to contact them after you have requestedher to stop. These acts break the law. She also acts illegally if she harasses your family members, threatens them, or misrepresents herself.
If you believe that a debt collector has acted illegally with your family members, you can file a complaint with the CFPB or possibly with your state attorney general. If you want to sue the debt collector for your injuries, you need anFDCPA attorney to represent you. You may be entitled to the following monetary remedies:
- Physical distress caused by the debt collector’s illegal action
- Emotional distress caused by the debt collector’s illegal action
- Lost Wages
- Wage garnishment recovery
- $1,000 in statutory damages
- Punitive damages
- Payment of your attorney fees and costs
Congress passed the FDCPA to protect you and your family members. Debt collectors will not always be honest with you. If you suspect that a debt collector is acting improperly with your family members get an opinion from an expert FDCPA attorney.
If a debt collector has been hounding you, to speak with a representative directly and immediately call 844-685-9200 for a free, no obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have experience in fighting debt collectors and standing up for consumers. If a debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you’re entitled to file suit in federal court, and could be awarded up to $1,000 and other damages.