Posted by: the daily messenger | March 30, 2013

Facebook Now the Debt Collector’s Best Friend

Why should divorce lawyers have all the fun? A Florida woman has filed a lawsuit against a debt collection agency for dunning her on Facebook. Her Facebook friends all got the message she was dodging her car loan.

Debt collectors use Facebook to find consumers

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers debt collection by any means

Debt collectors are limited in contacting anyone besides the consumer

Debt Collectors Find Consumers Easily on Facebook

This marks the first reported use of the virtual community to collect a real debt. It’s got me wondering, how safe are your Facebook credits from seizure? Could a debt collector make Facebook cough up 70 real cents (after its transaction fee) for every credit seized?

As we all know, Facebook’s a gold mine for divorce attorneys. Reports are many a custody or alimony dispute has turned on what’s been said, or what pictures have been posted, to a Facebook page. Attorneys counsel prospective litigants to keep it zipped, and monitor friends’ pages for unflattering material too.

Now that dunning has moved into social networks, are the laws that regulate debt collection up to snuff? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (pdf) regulates how and when debt collectors may contact the consumer who owes the debt and third persons. It covers communication by any means. It prohibits harassment and abuse, and prohibits contacting third persons without the consumer’s consent except in attempting to determine the consumer’s whereabouts.

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