Debt Collector Allegedly Harrassed Woman on Facebook



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Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. Ill definitely be back.
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She doesn't deny owing the money and she has retained attorneys to represent her. How about she just paying the debt that she apparently owes? No sympathy for her here. People who welch on their debts make it that much more expensive and harder for the rest of us who pay on time and in full. As far as I am concerned whatever is needed to collect (within the law of course) then go for it. If that means embarrassing her with her family then so be it.



Obviously someone has deep pockets... not all of us can afford to pay cash upfront for larger ticket items that are a necessity in our everyday lives. That being said, I do earn enough to put down a decent down payment and pay off the rest in less than 6 months (appliances, furniture) and other things in 2-4 years (car).

Sometimes credit is a necessary evil in order to manage our budgets. Thank god I don't owe jack to anyone these days.



Hey, you spent it, you pay it.  These days I cheer for those who go after debtors who don't do their duty to pay it back.  I find that the stiffer laws of filing for bankruptcy are great.  Not sure WHO pays the bill when others do this, but I am sure it eventually comes back to bite me somehow.

All the power to those who have to collect.  Credit is evil.  If you can't pay cash for it (barring the purchase of your home), you shouldn't buy it, charge it, or 90 days same as cash it.  I know some might think otherwise but, you might actually have savings if you didn't pay interest on all that stuff you didn't "really" need.  You don't need a credit score to define you.

Dave Ramsey does actually know what he is talking about. 



for companies to produce fraudulent debts for sale.  Once you manufacture a debt, you can sell it to bill collector companies that will fall all over themselves to collect it.  Ever been hit by adware, spyware, or malware that hijacks your computer?  That's all it takes for some scammer to manufacture a debt that you now owe, according to them.  They depend on you being guilty or chumpy-the guilt mode is either pr0n you allegedly purchase or a charity commitment you allegedly made, or they just assume that if you get a bill you will pay it, and an amazing number of people do just pay it.  It isn't much different that the fake antivirus scams.  And really the foreclosure crisis is no different-we just reached the peak foreclosure level in history on prime fixed rate mortgages, and we find that the people foreclosing on some properties have no standing to foreclose and the actual title and documentation has been shredded in violation of hundreds of years of property law.

People just assuming that the debtor is welshing are FAIL.  The people committing fraud depend on people like you to guilt folks into paying debts they don't legitimately owe.  Fraud has exploded in America from top to bottom as a result of deregulation and crony capitalism. I have fought it and won. Don't believe the hype from crooked bankers and debt collectors, and don't rush to judgment on your fellow citizens.  There is big time fraud afoot and naive libertarianism small government solutions won't fix it-either we have laws against fraud or we don't, and right now they aren't being enforced.



I'm not sure about the USA rules, but I suspect it's similar (in law or in spirit) as in BC, Canada.

As a former debt collector myself, a lot of debtors would simply give you the equivalent of the middle finger through the phone.  Many more simply doesn't return your calls or respond to the collection notice.

Really, all the collector wants to start with is simply to TALK to the debtor.  Sure, the debtor may have gone through hard times or indiscretion and that's why it's important to TALK to the collector and make some sort of arrangements.  Back at my job, it's quite surprinsing how lenient and reasonable we were in terms of making a payment arrangements.

Sadly, many debtor simply ignore the calls and failed/refuse to respond.  That's when it becomes a problem.

While the tracer or collector cannot talk about the debt specifically to a third party (e.g. family, friend), they can still leave a message to pass to the debtor and let them know who you are and who you work for.  Yea, they can infer what they like but technically you didn't discuss about it and it does pressure to fork up some payment (or at least call back).

I don't see anymore different than leaving message at a home or work, looking for the debtor or passing the message to the debtor to call back (as long as the collector is being polite and not revealing the nature of the call).  FB is no different than that.

Finally, as a reminder, the debtor has signed a contract and they are legally bound by it.  If they don't like it, they should go to court and seek a remedy.



Being polite isn't in the mind set of a debt collector.  Right around the time of the market crash I ran into financial issues.  I could no long make payments to my credit card of which it was sold to a collection agency.  This agency refused to "TALK" as you say.  They simply demanded.  I was the one initiating talks with the agency while they were the ones demanding their money as well as making me feel as if I were an epic failure in the process.  When I tried to negotiate they would try and construe my words and throw them back in my face.  Eventually I quite "TALKING" to them at all.  Fortunately I came into some money a little later down the road and was able to settle my debt but while in the process of trying to pay down that debt the debt collectors were sheer JERKS (putting it nicely)...



One the law only applies to the use of "instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails", so this might be a state issue if the company is instate. Aside from that, yes they went too far, not by contacting her on FB, but by contacting the family on FB, they really should send things through more official means.

But just maybe this is a sign of things to come, after all FB is getting into the loan business. 



While I agree that you shouldn't buy something you can't afford, we don't know the circumstances of her debt (lost her job? unexpected medical expenses? etc?) so being judgemental about that doesn't address the issue of whether the debt collector is going too far by using Facebook.

People need to understand that having a Facebook (or MySpace or any other social networking) site opens you up to all kinds of unwelcomed things, especially if you don't control who has the ability to post things to your page.

However, that doesn't mean debt collectors should have the right to attempt debt collection via social media.

In my younger days I ran up a lot of debt I couldn't afford (capricious youth) and had collection agencies calling. When they spoke to anyone besides me, they would not reveal the purpose of the call, only stating that it was a "business matter". This saved me a lot of embarassment on top of already being in a bad predicament.

The rules for debt collection are laid out in the Fair Debt collection Practices Act, section 804. It states:

Any debt collector communicating with any person other
than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location infor-
mation about the consumer shall—
(1)  identify himself, state that he is confrming or correct-
ing 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
(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 communi-
cation relates to the collection of a debt...

Consumer's rights are protected under this act. If debt collectors adhere to this, there should be no embarassment, however, as noted in the article, these rules were not followed and the company should be held completely at fault.



Technically it is legal to contact them Via phone. It is also legal for them to use facebook to aquire contact information such as current address and phone.


However facebooking family members and such is grounds for an harassment lawsuit.



Of course it's legal to contact a person by phone. But 6 to 10 times PER DAY? That's harassment. I bet if you had someone calling you 6 to 10 times per day for something, anything, you'd be pretty pissed off, and I'm sure you'd be ready with legal action if it continued. Even once a day gets to boarderline harassment IMO.



Dont buy stuff you cant afford.....I know, Duh, but some people cant get this through their thick skulls.


You also should never use your real information when registering for social do you think they find you?


Peanut Fox

It's possible that she doesn't owe the debt at all, and that a clerical error could be the cause of harassment.  Companies like Mark One make money by buying other peoples depts from companies for low sums of money, and then trying to collect the difference from who ever owes the alleged sum.

It's not uncommon for these guys to call family and friends and threaten legal action an an attempt to scare or embarrass an individual into paying.  In most cases the debt either isn't owed to begin with, or has passed the time period in which it can legally be collected.  Your best bet is to not pay them unless it's something recent.  Once you start paying it again, weather you owe it or not in the court of law they will see it as an admission of guilt, and you will be made to finish paying the amount.  These guys can be pretty low, but then again it's their job to be.



The point of Facebook and myspace is to use your real info, the issue isn't that she used real information or that someone was able to find here (part of the point of facebook, and for sure the point of The issue is if it is ok to use FB as a means to collect debt.



Don't buy thing you can't about that one? You can afford your internet service and computer but you can't pay your car off? Maybe she needs to reprioritize her life.

But for the sake of the article, harassing someone over fb is a bit drastic. Instead they should just take the car she obviously can't afford.



Ya, 'cause you know that's always the case!

Lets hope that you never buy something expensive that you can afford at the time, but something terrible happens to you and all of a sudden you can't afford it.



Yeah why haven't they done a repo on the car? 




It may have been repoed.  You can have your car repoed and still owe money.  When the bank repoes your car, they sell or auction it off to recover money.  If you owe 1500 for the car, but it auctions for only 1100, then the bank will still come after you for the remaining 400 + auction  and repo fees.

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