We know from a previous article that debt collectors are governed by strict guidelines; some of which restrict their contact with third parties in regards to your debt. Yet it is obvious that the reality of the matter has collectors breaking a lot of the rules a lot of the time. In fact, in many cases, debt collectors not only contact third parties in regards to your debt, but they even manage to obtain payment from them on your behalf.
Is it Legal for Debt Collectors to Demand Payment from Third Parties?
It is illegal for a debt collector to demand payment or even try to collect a debt from a third party that is not liable for the debt. Yet in many instances spouses who are not listed on the account (and therefore are not liable) are pressured into offering payment. Ex spouses often find themselves offering up payment for bills they don’t owe simply on the say so of the collection agent.
Other cases have debt collectors being a bit subtler in their attempts to collect on the debt from people who are not liable by implying that the account holder could use some help or that they’d probably really appreciate it if this could be taken care of. They don’t expressly request a payment, but they know what questions to ask. They’re good at their jobs. Some will even lead these family members or friends to believe they hold partial liability or responsibility with manipulative questions like, “Have you helped them out with bills in the past?” This type of scenario pressuring third parties to provide payment is illegal. Collectors that utilize these methods are in violation of the FDCPA.
If you have been harassed by a debt collector you are eligible to file a FDCPA claim even if the debt is not your own. You may have been harassed regarding the debt of a friend, co-worker, sibling, etc. Regardless, your rights are protected under the FDCPA.
If you are having trouble dealing with aggressive collectors and you would like to discuss how filing for bankruptcy could provide an immediate halt to all collection activity, please contact one of the experienced southern California bankruptcy attorneys at Westgate Law.