The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Governs Communications With Third Parties

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) exists to protect consumers from abusive practices engaged in by debt collectors.  The purpose of this article to explain the law, the practices it prohibits, and the remedies it provides.


If you have been the victim of abusive debt collection practices, know that you have rights, and that you can fight to protect those rights, and hold those responsible for the abuse you have suffered.  An experienced New York debt collection defense attorney will stop the harassing calls and other abusive practices, prevent future violations of the FDCPA, and in some instances recover compensation you are entitled to.


The FDCPA came about for good reason.  Surveying troves of data acquired over many years, Congress concluded that abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices were rife in the United States.  Not only that, but evidence of these practices showed Congress that abusive debt collection was hurting the lives of Americans, and, as a result, the American economy.  Some primary consequences of the loathsome debt collection practices: personal bankruptcies, loss of jobs, invasions of individual privacy, and even marital instability.  Sick of the abuse and its effect on the U.S. economy, Congress passed the FDCPA in 1977.  Turning the tide on the many abusive practices revealed by evidence, the FDCPA substantially bolstered the existing laws and methods for dealing the injuries dealt by devious debt collectors to consumers.


One of the oldest forms of abuse engaged in by debt collectors was to harass not only the debtor, but also third parties.  One of cornerstones of the FDCPA, thankfully, is to govern precisely whom a debt collector may contact with regard to a debt owed to a creditor.  The general rule concerning communications with third parties is that a debt collector is prohibited from contacting third parties in regards to a debtor’s debt.  The only exceptions provide by the FCDPA to this rule concern the debtor’s attorney, if the debtor is represented one, credit reporting agencies, the debtor’s spouse, parents, co-debtors (if any) and the original creditor.  A debt collector may also contact third parties in an effort to learn the consumer’s address or telephone number, subject to certain rules.


This last exception, covering the original creditor, speaks to the fact that debts are often sold from creditor to creditor, and also the fact that creditor and debt collector are not always the same individual or entity.  Because the FDCPA applies to debt collectors, but not to original creditors, some creditors assume the dual role of debt collector.  Importantly, debtors can prevent a debt collector from contacting the debtor’s spouse, parents, and any codebtors simply by sending the debt collector instructing said collector to cease such communications.


If a debt collector has been violating your rights concerning communications to third parties under the FDCPA, contact a skilled and experienced New York debt collection attorney.  A skilled attorney will stop the abuse, prevent future abuse, negotiate an improved settlement, and if necessary file a legal complaint against the abusive debt collector.  Don’t put up with debt collection abuse; contact an experienced New York debt defense attorney today.