If a debt collector is calling you at your work and only asking to speak with you, read “Can a Debt Collector Call Me at Work?”. If the debt collector is speaking to other employees or your boss about your alleged debt, keep reading.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), a debt collector may not directly contact your employer, except to inquire about location information about you, and only in strictly limited circumstances.
If a debt collector can honestly say that they have no current telephone number or address for you, that the only information they have is your employer’s information and they have been unable to communicate directly with you at your place of employment, the debt collector is allowed to communicate with other persons at your workplace for the sole purpose of acquiring location information about you.
The debt collector must identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting location information about you, cannot mention that you owe a debt, or give any indication that they are a debt collector, and cannot contact that person/employee more than once. If they reveal any other information about you or the alleged debt to the third party they are communicating with, they may be liable for an FDCPA violation.
To learn more about FDCPA violations and what you can do, click here.
Here’s the relevant statutes:
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(b)
(b) Communication with third parties—Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a post-judgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, consumer’s spouse, parent (if the consumer is a minor),guardian, executor, or administrator, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692b
Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall—
(1) identify himself, state that he is confirming or correcting 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 information;
(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 communication relates to the collection of a debt; and
(6) after the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with regard to the subject debt and has knowledge of, or can readily ascertain, such attorney’s name and address, not communicate with any person other than that attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable period of time to communication from the debt collector.