Free registration is required to access these resources. Login or Register.

Premium compliance products are also available in the insideARM Store

Robert Fite

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are allowed to contact a debtor’s friends, relatives, or neighbors to obtain location and/or contact information. This is an important piece in the skip-tracing puzzle when attempting to find hard-to-reach consumers.

There are many very specific rules that come along with this privilege, however. First, if a debt collector has correct contact information on a debtor, he cannot contact third parties at all. Why, other than to disclose to a third party, would a collector contact a relative if there is already a correct phone number, for example?

Another important caveat is that debt collectors are allowed to contact a third party only once for the purpose of location information (unless that third party grants specific permission for the collector to call back, which almost never happens). This means that collectors and skip tracers need to have the best information possible before making their one call to a solid third party that will help locate a debtor (like a parent, for example).

With robust information processing technology available today, a single phone number can be revealed to be connected or disconnected, a cell number, originated in a time zone that would lead to call violations, or associated with a relative of a debtor. More than that, many solutions can give collectors the exact relationship of a relative to the debtor.

This is very important in an environment where more post-college-aged kids are living in their parents’ home. Even if there are only three people living in the house, there can be – at minimum – four phone numbers associated with a home-dwelling “boomeranger.” In practice, a home landline would be a right party contact number for the child. But the parents’ individual cellphone numbers would not be, and would be under the one contact rule.

The matter is complicated if the kid gave her own cell number as the primary contact on a credit application. Then, the home landline could be off limits (or it could be argued as such in court) because it is technically in the parents’ name.

Having the most information available for your one call to relatives is imperative to reducing call risk in the current litigation-happy collection environment. Third parties will always be a valuable resource for collectors and skip-tracers, but not worth fielding lawsuits over.

Rob Fite is the Vice President of Collection Solutions for LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, and brings with him nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of collections, credit, and risk management. At LexisNexis, Rob is responsible for leading LexisNexis collections market strategies, product development, business direction and revenue growth.

This article originally appeared in the latest issue of Know Your Debtor, a free quarterly newsletter focused on the U.S. consumer environment. Make sure you’re registered to receive insideARM’s newsletters on your User Profile page.

 


Related Products

To the Point Technology Thumbnail

To the Point: Technology

This Operation Guide distills the information presented in our insideOperations webinar. It comes complete with a link to the full video recording of the webinar -- great for use for all-staff trainings and quarterly in-services -- as well as a Certificate of Completion and the full transcript of the webinar. This is a great resource for tracking training, allowing regulators and clients to see your agency's commitment to continuing compliance and education! (This product is approved for DBA International Certification Credit.)

To the Point: Telephony and Voicemail Messages (Updated for 2014)

To the Point: Telephony and Voicemail Messages (Updated for 2014)

From the popular Ask the Attorney webinar series produced by us here at insideARM.com, we've culled the pressing questions and the expert answers into mini-briefs, perfect for when you only need the latest legal thinking on a specific topic. We'll get you up to speed on the following: What is the impact of the recent Meyer v. PRA appeal as it relates to manual dialing of cell numbers? Should first-party collections' departments also have measurements for abandoned call rates? Are there any new changes for auto dialers and cell phones? Can a message for a consumer be left with a live third party? When should the mini-Miranda be used? Should it be used on a dialer call? And if it’s used on the dialer call, how is that not third-party disclosure? Can you leave a message on an attorney’s voicemail?

Thumbnail - To the Point: Voicemails and Foti

To the Point: Voicemails and Foti

Looking to get in and out quickly on Voicemails and Foti compliance? You can read all about our attorneys’ answers to the industry’s most pressing compliance questions in To the Point – Voicemails and Foti. We’ve condensed the questions asked at our August Ask the Attorney Webinar into a user-friendly, five-part guide covering: Foti and Zortman voicemails; the latest news in robo-dialing; and much more! We’ve also included two appendixes with the full text of key court cases and regulations cited by our attorneys during the webinar. Hot topics in consideration from this webinar included: voicemail confusion for debt collectors (Which is safer, Foti or Zortman?), state specifics for collection (Why is it so tough to leave a voicemail in New York City?) and more.

Thumbnail - Operations Guide: Call Recording

Operations Guide: Call Recording

Our Operations Guide: Call Recording presents the case -- and best practices -- around both recording all calls with consumers, and, in some cases, not recording your calls with consumers. Our experts -- Paul Maggioli of Castel; and Anita Tolani of Weinberg, Jacobs & Tolani, LLP -- help make sense of the conflicting and opaque regulations affecting the debt industry. This Operations Guide comes complete with a link to the full video recording of the webinar -- great for use for all-staff trainings and quarterly in-services -- as well as a Certificate of Completion. This is a great resource for tracking training, allowing regulators and clients to see your agency's commitment to continuing compliance and education!

Advertisement