“What is a Third Party disclosure under the FDCPA?”
One of the worst types violations that we see debt collectors make is when they do a “Third Party Disclosure.”
This is a terrible violation of your rights in addition to violating the federal law, the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act).
Let’s break this down a little bit.
A third party is anyone outside of yourself, your spouse, or your lawyer.
We have the debt collector on one side, then ourselves on the other. The law defines “you” as either your spouse, you, or your lawyer.
Anyone outside of that group is considered a third party. They’re not a part of the dynamic between you and the debt collector.
A third party could be your neighbor, your children, your parents, boss, etc.
Anyone who isn’t your spouse, yourself, or your lawyer.
A disclosure is where they reveal information about this debt.
Now, if they call your home and an adult child answers the phone, and the collector says, “Can I speak with so and so?” and the child says, “That’s my father/mother/etc. Let me get them for you,” that’s not a disclosure.
If they haven’t said anything about you being in debt, or that they’re a debt collector, then the collection company hasn’t disclosed anything.
However, if they’re calling our children and ask for you, your child says that they’re not you, and the collector goes on to say they’re a collector or threaten you, that’s a problem. This is an extreme example of third party disclosure.
The same concept applies to anyone who is considered a third party (someone outside of yourself, your spouse, and your lawyer).
Let’s talk about a more subtle way that debt collectors use to disclose information to third parties in Alabama.
They may call that third party and say, “Is so and so okay?”
This would prompt the third party to say, “Well, as far as I know they’re okay.”
Then, the debt collector will ask them to check in on you and see if you’re okay since they haven’t been able to get in touch with you.
When the third party asks the collector who they are, the collector will say, “Well, I’m not allowed by law to tell you, since this is a very private matter. I do need them to call me, though.”
The third-party, whoever it is, will be forced to check in on you. They’ll be worried about some unknown person that wants to talk to you about a personal matter.
That puts incredible pressure on you because you have different people coming to you and asking if everything is okay.
It will prompt you to call the collector, and that’s why they believe that it should be legal to do this. It’s effective.
Just because something works, doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate for a debt collector to do.
They could call the cops on you and claim you have a hostage.
I’ve mentioned this before in other articles, but it’s also effective for them to break down the door to your home, aim a shotgun at your legs, and pull the trigger.
That doesn’t mean that it’s legal for them to do that.
These third-party disclosures come in waves. They’ll do it many times and get sued for it, and then over time, they back off on it.
Then, they do it again.
We have to be on guard for these violations. They love to do anything that will pressure you into paying them, regardless of whether or not it’s legal.
I hope this is helpful to you.
If you’re currently experiencing this and you live in Alabama, feel free to give us a call with any questions you may have.
You can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447, or you can fill out a contact form, and we will get in touch with you quickly.
We look forward to helping you in any way we can.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!