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What are creditors' rights with debtors' location information?

When confronted with overwhelming consumer debt, Texans might be under the impression that the creditors have a right to do whatever they feel is necessary to try and collect that debt. It is this that leads to intense fear and consternation as they try to figure a way out of what they are facing. However, there are certain instances in which the creditor will use certain tactics that are against the law. Debtors are accorded various protections and they must be aware of them. One issue that should be understood is the acquisition of location information from another party.

A collector who communicates with another person apart from the debtor from whom the payment on a debt is sought can be contacted for information regarding that debtor's location. There are certain rules that must be followed regarding this. The collection agent must give his or her identity and say that the call refers to the confirmation or correcting of the debtor's location. The employer can only be identified upon expressed request. The collector must not state that the debtor owes a certain debt.

The collector is limited to communicating with the person once unless there has been a request by the person for a separate mode of contact or the collector holds a reasonable belief that the previous response was incomplete or inaccurate and the information that person has is now accurate. There can be no communication via postcard. No language or symbol can be on an envelope or in the contents indicating that the collector is in the business of collecting debt or that the communication is related to collecting debt. Once the debt collector is aware that the consumer has been represented by a lawyer regarding this debt and the attorney's identity and contact information can be readily acquired, the person can no longer be contacted about the debt unless the attorney has not responded in a reasonable amount of time.

Whether a debtor is considering a bankruptcy proceeding or is trying to find another method to get out of substantial consumer debt, it is essential to remember that there are protections accorded to avoid certain methods of contact that the collector might attempt to use. Speaking to a legal professional about creditors' rights and being protected is the first step to stopping debtor harassment.

Source: ftc.gov, "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -- 804. Acquisition of location information," accessed on May 26, 2017

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