Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Debt Collectors Have Been Going After People Who Owe Money By Harassing Their Facebook Friends. But a Court Ruled It's Illegal.
Apparently, debt collectors have been trying to "talk" people into paying up by tracking them down on Facebook then harassing their FACEBOOK FRIENDS! In Florida, one collection agent was trying to get car payments from a woman named Melanie Beacham, and when she kept ignoring his calls, texts, and emails . . . he went on Facebook and started sending messages to her friends and family. Melanie sued, saying he was violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which only allows a debt collector to get in touch with a person's friends and family if he doesn't know where the person is. The debt collectors have been using social media to dance around that policy because the FDCPA was established in 1978, so it only covers things like phone calls and home visits, not a brand-new technology like Facebook. Well, a judge at the Pinellas Circuit Court in Florida ruled that even though social media isn't specifically covered in the FDCPA, it's still illegal. It's being called a landmark case, because it set a precedent that debt collectors can't harass your Facebook friends.