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  • Writer's pictureSubhan Tariq, Esq

Are Debt Collectors Leaving Vague Messages for You? You May Be Able to Sue!

Are you being harassed by debt collectors calling your home or place of business and leaving vague messages to "call about a personal business matter" or to "call back right away"? Have you been tricked into calling a debt collector who left a similarly vague message with a friend, family member or business associate? If so you may have a valid Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claim!

Debt collectors are restricted in who they can contact when trying to collect a debt. They aren't allowed to talk with third parties about another person’s debt, as doing so can be used as a tool of harassment or as a way of embarrassing and shaming the person. But debt collectors also can't pretend to not be a debt collector and must be straightforward with the person so that they are not taken by surprise or otherwise at a disadvantage when dealing with a debt collector.

Debt collectors have often tried to avoid these restrictions by leaving vague messages with the friends, family or business associates of their targets. The goal of these messages was either to trick people into calling the debt collector without knowing who it was, and thus be at a disadvantage, or to put pressure on them with lots of mysterious messages that friends, family and business associates had to relay.

Now a Judge in the Eastern District Court of New York has explicitly ruled that this behavior is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In a decision filed January 12, 2016, Judge Cogan ruled that when a debt collector reaches a third party then the proper action is to politely end the call or state that they will call back. Leaving a vague message with a third party or identifying themselves as a debt collector looking for someone to a third party are both violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you or someone you know have been having a debt collector call their friends and family or work with vague messages to call back or has identified themselves as a debt collector who is looking for you to anyone but yourself then you have a valid Fair Debt Collection Practices case and are entitled to $1,000.00 in statutory damages! Contact us today to lean how we can help you get justice and help stop the harassment today!

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