The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), eliminates “abusive and deceptive” collection practices that debt collectors can use when calling and tracking down debtors, including the following:

  • Hours For Calling
    • Collectors can only call consumers between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm local time.
  • Failure to stop communication upon request
  • Collectors must cease all communications with consumers (other than litigation) after receiving written notice that said consumer wishes no further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt. Some exceptions do apply.
  • Calling with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
  • Contacting debtors that are being represented by an attorney
  • Using deceit or misrepresentation to collect the debt. This includes misrepresenting the amount of debt owed or the collector informing others that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer.
  • Discussing the debt owed to third parties with the exception of the debtor’s attorney or spouse.
  • Using abusive or profane language
  • Publishing a debtor’s name on a “bad debt” list
  • Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report

When hiring a debt collection firm, it is important to make sure that they will comply with the all regulations in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The debt recovery firm Johnson Morgan & White has highly trained professionals who fully comply with the governing laws.

Many people and businesses have jump on the social media bandwagon to find old friends and to increase exposure on their work and services. Even debt collection agencies are beginning to use social sites such as Facebook and Myspace, but not to find friends, but debtors instead. In the real world, debtors can easily avoid paying their debts by changing their phone numbers, and moving to a new location. However, in the online world, avoiding attention is not so easy. Especially in a place we users are encourage to share their personal information for the entire world to see.

This is not a new use of social media sites. For years we have heard stories of businesses using social sites to do informal backgrounds on potential employees. Now, debt collectors are using it as a tool to find their debtors or their friends.

“It’s public information and if someone has a MySpace or Facebook page and they’ve incurred a debt than there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a debt collector using this information to locate them.” says Jay Gonsalves, president of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. While there is nothing wrong about this practice, there are laws that prevent collectors from posting comments or disclosing information to another person online.

For more information on commercial debt collection services, contact Johnson, Morgan & White.