With the explosion of easily affordable databases which list the names and phone numbers of a consumer’s neighbors, some unscrupulous debt collectors have succumbed to the temptation to illegally contact consumers’ neighbors.
Unscrupulous debt collectors often call the consumer’s neighbors. Typically these calls occur early in the morning and often while the consumer is at work. Often, several collection employees call neighbors simultaneously in a coordinated bombardment. This usually causes a couple of neighbors bearing messages to call the collector to visit the consumer’s home at roughly the same time.
Debt collectors call these exciting neighborhood gatherings “Block parties”.
The debt collectors who throw block parties seldom even attempt to contact the consumer first. The purpose is to coerce consumer borrowers into paying the account by humiliating the consumers in front of their neighbors.
Block parties are almost always illegal. Contacting even one neighbor is often grounds for suing the debt collector.
Debt collectors are rarely allowed to contact the consumer’s neighbors, employer, friends, or relatives. Debt collectors frequently violate the law when they yield to the temptation of pressuring the consumer by discussing private financial matters with others.
Unless the debt collector is speaking with the consumer’s spouse, the debt collector is usually prohibited from discussing or even mentioning the alleged debt with anyone who is not obligated to pay the account.
Debt collectors often leave messages with neighbors requesting that the consumer call them. Although many of these messages contain just a “desk name” and telephone number, neighbors are usually perceptive enough to figure out that the person is calling to collect a debt. Messages which do not disclose the collection agency’s name and that the caller is attempting to collect a debt violate the FDCPA.
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from threatening to contact anyone other than a co-borrower who is also obligated to pay the account. Of course, the debt collector can discuss the account with the consumer’s spouse even if he or she is not obligated to pay the account.
The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”) prohibits creditors (in addition to debt collectors) from disclosing information affecting a consumer’s reputation, whether or not for creditworthiness, to anyone other than the consumer or his or her family where the person receiving the information does not have a legitimate business need for the information.
Why do debt collectors call neighbors or friends even when they know it is illegal for them to do so, because the debt collector knows many people will pay the debt in order to avoid further humiliation. Consumers do not have to reward thugs who violate federal law, fight back!
Consumers who are being harassed by consumers who call their neighbors about their alleged debts should immediately seek assistance from an experienced consumer protection lawyer.
If collection agencies or other debt collectors are calling your neighbors, relatives, co-workers, friends, or other people about you, you are welcome to contact me by completing the Collection Harassment form on the right hand column of this page. If you are a Florida resident, you are also invited to call my office so we can discuss your situation and how I might be able to help you.
I offer Florida residents a
free case evaluation.
If you live outside Florida, I will try to provide a resource of name of a debt harassment attorney who maintains an office in your state.
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Donald E. Petersen.
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