Debt collectors are known for doing whatever it takes to collect a debt, including calling a debtor’s family members. For debtors, this can be humiliating. And unfortunately, this tactic is often effective, as it forces debtors to pay up to avoid future embarrassing phone calls. In this article, we examine whether it’s legal for a debt collector to call a debtor’s family to try to collect a debt.
The Reason Debt Collectors Call Family Members
When trying to collect a debt, debt collectors first attempt to contact debtors directly. However, when this fails, debt collectors will often reach out to a debtor’s family members. The goal of a debt collector when contacting a debtor’s family is to obtain accurate contact information for the debtor. However, as noted above, this also often has the effect of placing pressure on debtors to pay to avoid further humiliation.
Is It Legal for Debt Collectors to Call Family Members?
It is legal for a debt collector to contact a debtor’s family. However, when doing so, debt collectors must adhere to the requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act limits what a debt collector may say to a debtor’s family when trying to collect a debt.
The information a debt collector may share with a debtor’s family is limited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For one, a debt collector can’t share details of the debt with a debtor’s family. However, this limitation doesn’t apply when a debt collector contacts a debtor’s spouse, parents (if the debtor is a minor), guardian, or executor. In addition, a debt collector can’t reveal that he or she works for a collection agency unless a debtor’s family member expressly asks for this information.
How to Prevent Debt Collectors from Calling Your Family
If a debt collector has called your family about a debt you allegedly owe, you may take any of the following actions to prevent future calls:
- Pay the debt (if the debt is actually yours).
- Request that the debt collector stop contacting you and your family about the debt via a cease and desist letter.
What to Do About Debt Collection Violations
If you believe a debt collector has violated your rights, you can file a report with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In addition, you should strongly consider contacting a Florida consumer class action attorney for assistance.
Contact a Florida Consumer Class Action Attorney
If you are the victim of illegal debt collection practices, you should contact a Florida consumer class action attorney as soon as possible for assistance. Attorney Seth Lehrman is dedicated to helping you fight back against debt collectors who break the law. Attorney Seth Lehrman has decades of experience trying consumer class action cases in both state and federal court, and he is well known for helping victims achieve justice. Please contact us today to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.