Debt collectors using Facebook seems to be all the rage, and it seems to be causing some rage too. While they are legally able to contact you online and even use your friends, family and employer network to find you, there are rules on how and when they can do so.
Rules for Debt collectors using Facebook
A debt collector’s rules of engage for Facebook are similar to their rules for contacting and collecting debt outside of the digital realm.
Debt collectors rules for real-world contact:
- Collection agencies are not allowed to call you between the hours of 9PM and 8AM.
- They are prohibited from using abusive and threatening language.
- Collection agencies must contact you only in writing if you make such a request.
- If such a request is made by your lawyer, then the collector must communicate exclusively with him from that point on.
- If asked, they are not allowed to contact you at work.
Rules for Debt collectors using Facebook :
- Any debt collectors using Facebook must disclose who they are and why they are contacting you. They cannot contact you under false pretenses.
- They cannot disclose the details to your friends. Debt collectors using Facebook can contact your friends and family in an attempt to locate you, but they are prohibited from revealing that they are trying to collect money from you.
- Once they locate you, any contact with your friends and family must cease (unless they are co-signers and liable for the debt being collected).
- Debt collectors using Facebook are required to provide notice in writing within five days of contacting you of the debt owed; the amount of debt and to whom it is owed.
Just as there are ways top deal with debt collectors when they come calling, there are ways to deal with then in cyberspace too. In fact, the best thing to do with debt collectors using Facebook to contact you or your family and friends is direct them to contact you through snail mail and not Facebook at all.
Communicate in writing, preferably through a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer or want to try dealing with them yourself, make sure you deal with debt collectors the right way, and know your rights.
Often times, just making them aware that you know your rights – how they can and cannot contact you – is enough to keep them in line. Other times, you may need to sue them for their illegal practices. Either way, if the debt is yours, then so is the responsibility to repay the debt.