Can A Collection Agency Call My Neighbor?

by Donald Petersen on February 3, 2011

“Can a collection agency call my neighbor” Orlando FL consumers often ask. Many consumers complain “a collection agency called my neighbor.”

The short answer is “no”. A collection agency should not call your neighbor.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) allows a collection agency to call a neighbor if the agency does not have what the FDCPA calls “location information”.

Once the collection agency has the “location information”, it should not be calling the consumer’s neighbors (or anyone else other than the consumer or the consumer’s spouse).

A debt collector has the “location information” once it knows either the consumer’s : (1) home address and telephone number; or (2) place of employment.

Once the debt collector has this location information, they can not call anyone other than the consumer (or the consumer’s spouse).

Although the FDCPA allows debt collectors to call third parties (usually only once) to obtain “location information”, debt collectors who begin by calling family, friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, or other persons usually violate the FDCPA.

Collection agencies who are seeking location information are restricted as to what they can say and are usually limited to one contact with the third party.

Collection agencies who aggressively (or even illegally) seek location information, also often venture far beyond the permissible subjects of conversation by disclosing the debt or leaving messages for the consumer with the third party.

If the collection agency already has the location information, the collection agency is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by calling a neighbor even if the collector pretends to be requesting location information.

Collection agencies typically already have this location information and call the neighbor in order to harass the consumer borrower. Collection agencies who call neighbors seldom request location information about the consumer. Orlando FL consumers have contacted me after more than one neighbor told the consumer that a collection agency called their neighbors.

The collection agencies often violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when they call third parties. If a neighbor tells you that they received a call about you from a collection agency, ask the neighbor to take a photo (if possible) of the caller Id information and write down the date, time, incoming telephone number and name from their caller ID. I also recommend that you do the same thing. This will show the pattern of the calls so that a FDCPA lawyer can evaluate your potential claims. A free collection harassment log is available by clicking on the highlighted portion of this sentence or clicking here : http://www.fdcpa.me/phone-harassment/

Readers are welcome to share their experiences with collection agencies who call them (about their neighbors) or their neighbors (about them).

If you are a Florida resident and collection agencies are contacting your neighbors, friends, relatives, references, or other people about a consumer debt that you allegedly owe, please complete the Collection Agency Harassment form in the right hand column or contact my office.

I will contact you to discuss your situation and how I can assist you in fighting the collection agency harassment.

(C) 2011 Donald E. Petersen
All rights reserved

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Catherine Parrott August 3, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I had a call all in one day to-
1. home, three times in a row because my son answered and phone was dying-so it kept hanging up on them after a “Morgan”was calling, my son could answer and say the phone is dying it wld disconnect, he would place on charger and as soon as it gained enough charge the phone would ring again, he would answer it and she blurts out to my 13 yr old son, look- if you dont stop playing with the phone I am going to have a summons taken out on you- the third call when she was able to get that out- she told him that she was a locator and was out trying to serve a summons and that someone was suing me and I had a court date and better return the call.
2/she then called my work number, i was on the phone- but a msg was left with the same information- so very rude.
3/she then called my ex husbands number and left the same very detailed message she left on mine and to my son. (pretty sure she called all the Parrotts and left those messages– but, i called the number back-
reached a Mr. Snipes at 888-430-6263- ext 364 and let him know i was contacting the florida attorney generals office and others about the call. He said, oh- she does not work for us, they are an outside company that we pay to contact and leave messages. I advised him that it was not legal and a simple call to me would have gotten me to call back. He states money was deposited to a Wood Forest Bank for me and that i owed 580.00 and he wanted a settlement of at least $300. I have never had but two accounts and they are still at banks wtih the same name and never a Wood Forest Bank. I requested today that he send me the signed contract and deposit account information but he seemed to treat me as he didnt need to do any of that as he had the support he needed on his end that i had taken out this loan.
I checked my bank accounts for the date -which was back in 2009 and found no deposits- just thought you would like the information

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Ms. S. August 11, 2011 at 9:36 PM

I live in Illinois, and we are late on our house payment, and the bank is now calling our neighbors to send us messages..is this legal? I wouldn’t think this can be if my neighbor has nothing to do with us or our loan, it’s not like there phone number is on our loan or anything. I guess they just looked up the address and seen they were beside us. Is there anything i can do about this?

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Don Petersen August 17, 2011 at 6:21 PM

The FDCPA does not apply to a mortgage servicer who began servicing your account before it went into default. The courts’ decisions about whether default servicers are debt collectors are (or are not) debt collectors are inconsistent and extremely inconsistent. You may have rights under Illinois law. These types of questions are why it is extremely important to consult with a lawyer who is licensed to practice in your state and who is familiar with the local decisions and practices. As a courtesy, I provided you with information to allow you to obtain legal advise. I hope you are able to make the mortgage servicer stop calling your neighbors!

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Mrs. B March 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I received a voice mail from a man named “Alan” at Green Tree Servicing who asked me to pass his number to my neighbors, saying he was trying to get in touch with them. I don’t know these neighbors. I called “Alan” at Green Tree Servicing and got a their automated system. It asked for my account number or phone number, so on a whim, I entered my phone number…and got access to this neighbors account. I hung up and called back and went through a series of menus until I finally got a live person and explained that I don’t know these people but now have access to their account. They removed my number and blocked my access to the account **** This can’t be legal. ***

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Don Petersen March 29, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Thanks for sharing your story. Although Green Tree is likely not a debt collector, I am posting this because it seems so devious of a creditor to hold your account info. hostage because you won’t play their game and help them harass your neighbor !

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Hildur June 28, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I owe student loans but I don’t make enough money to pay it off and they don’t want 100 per month which I can afford right now and they are calling my neighbors which I think is should not be right because now my neighbors know that I owe money

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Cindy February 12, 2013 at 10:16 AM

someone called a home across the street and left the name Morales 1 800 394 7560. I searched the web and found this. A few minutes later there was a call that stated my name and they were a collection agency trying to collect a debt. UCB 1 954 538 7530.

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