We have all had it happen: you owe someone money, a debt collector calls your house, and they tell your spouse, your kids, or your parents that you owe money. This can’t be okay, can it?
Generally, third-party contacts for any purpose other than obtaining information about the consumer’s location violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Rosenthal Act. A third party is someone other than yourself who is not on the account. So, for most people, their children and their parents are third parties because these people are not on the account. If your spouse is on a joint account with you, then the debt collector can talk to your spouse. They can reach out to other people solely to confirm your place of employment or place of residence, but they cannot disclose any details to these people, including that they are a debt collector.
Third-party collectors have contacted consumers’ employers, relatives, children, neighbors, and friends, and informed them about consumers’ debts. None of these contacts is allowed under the FDCPA or the Rosenthal Act. They cannot contact these folks or try to use these contacts to harrass you. If they do, talk to an attorney about your rights.