Is It Legal For A Debt Collector To Leave A Voice Mail Message On My Home Phone?


Debt collectors routinely break federal law when leaving voice mail messages on your home phone. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector must give you the “mini-miranda” when having any communication with you. This means telling you that this is a debt collector and this is an attempt to collect a debt. This prevents any trickery that used to occur in the past – where debt collectors would claim to be a “sweepstakes” company or otherwise trick the consumer into calling.

Despite the fact that giving the mini-miranda has been the law for years, many collectors refuse to give this. There are two explanations, neither one of which particularly matter, but we give these to help you understand why these collectors routinely break the law.

First, collectors don’t leave this information because it helps them to collect the debt. It may not always make sense to us why they do things but understand collectors are in the business of collecting debts and what they do is calculated to help them do that – collect debts. Leaving out the mini-miranda is just one example.

The second reason for breaking the law is that collectors know if they leave a recording on your answering machine or voicemail and someone other than your spouse hears it, they have violated the rule against third party disclosures.

So collectors feel that the best way to collect and the best way to avoid third party disclosures is to (ironically!) violate the law by not leaving the mini-miranda.

If you receive voice mails on your home phone, save them. Record them onto a digital recorder or some other recording device so you can have a back up copy of the actual message. Was the mini-miranda given? If not, you are dealing with a collector that does not care that its violation is saved on your voice mail message. That kind of collector (and some of the biggest companies have this policy) will not worry about breaking other parts of FDCPA so be aware that you are dealing with an abusive debt collector.

Please feel free to call us if you have any questions about voicemail messages or other actions that a debt collector has taken against you.

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