Debt Collectors Leaving Messages On Answering Machines


Alabama consumers receive countless calls from debt collectors and collection agencies regarding debts that are supposedly owed. What happens when the collector gets an answering machine or voice mail? Should the collector leave a message or not?

The always excellent Consumer Law & Policy Blog discusses the dilemma that collectors face. Please read the article and form your own opinions about this.

One thing to consider is whether a collector must leave a message. Right now the case law suggests that doing so violates the law. What can the collector do? Not leave messages! I don’t think a court will find that a collector is harassing someone by refusing to leave a message – as long as the number of calls is reasonable.

How can a collector function without leaving messages? Send a letter addressed to the debtor only. Don’t leave messages where anyone in the house could hear it. Most collectors I know of would not just start talking to anyone who answered the phone without verifying it is the debtor. To leave messages where anyone (child, mother in law, etc) could listen to it is taking a serious chance of getting sued….

In any event, we’ll keep you posted when more guidance is issued by courts or by the FTC.

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