Debt Collectors Are Allowed to Contact You on Social Media, but They Must Follow the Rules
Even before 2020, there were plenty of ways social media could ruin your day, from the humblebrags of your acquaintances and the way everyone except you seems to look ageless and flawless in their pictures to the out-of-the-blue messages from old high school classmates that are thinly veiled multi level marketing sales pitches and the insights into your co-workers’ political views that you can never unsee. Now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has added another buzzkill to the already demoralizing experience of social media, namely, it is possible for creditors to contact you on social media in an attempt to collect debts. The CFPB has updated its guidelines on debt collection practices for the first time in more than 40 years, and while the new guidelines set limits on how debt collectors can use social media and other new technologies to contact borrowers, they cannot be 100 percent effective at preventing abusive debt collection practices. If debt collectors are harassing you on Facebook or other social media platforms, contact a Pennsylvania debt collection abuse lawyer.
Debt Collectors Can Contact You on Social Media, but They Cannot Publicly Humiliate You
The new guidelines, with run 132 pages, are in the same spirit as the old ones; specifically, they allow creditors to contact you through many different channels (phone calls and postal mail, plus the new forms of communication that have emerged since then), but they specify where the line is between attempts to collect a debt and harassment. Just as the rule has long been in place that creditors may only call you seven times per week about each debt you owe, the new guidelines contain the following provisions about social media communications about debt collection:
- Creditors may use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with borrowers.
- While creditors should be forthcoming about their reasons for contacting borrowers, they may initiate contact with a friend request or other message that seeks to verify the borrower’s identity.
- No debt collection communications on social media may be publicly visible. This is harassment, just as it would be harassment for a creditor to confront a borrower at the borrower’s workplace to confront him or her about the debt.
- Messages from creditors must clearly state the procedure that borrowers can follow to opt out of receiving further communications from the borrower about the debt.
On social media or with any other method of communication, debt collectors may not misrepresent the debt, make false accusations and empty threats, or otherwise attempt to deceive or intimidate the borrower. The new CFPB guidelines aim to curb debt collection abuse, but abusive practices by creditors remain rampant.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
You have the right to freedom from harassment by creditors, and a Philadelphia debt collection abuse attorney can help you stop debt collectors from harassing you. Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.