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What are the Rules About Debt Collectors Contacting You on Social Media?

Social media was supposed to be fun, but it turned very dark very quickly. People have been sending online messages to ruin each other’s days since the days of AIM and Friendster. If that scene in The Social Network has verisimilitude, idle smack talk was Facebook’s original purpose. (Most viewers were less surprised by the mean-spirited origins of Facebook than by the fact that the one percent call a yearbook a facebook.) When you log on to look for coupons, recipes, or funny videos, you instead find terrifying news headlines and sides of your friends and family you wish you did not know existed. At this point, reminders about your debts are far from the worst thing you can find on social media; at least it serves as a reminder to log off and get back to work. Debt collectors can contact you on social media, but they cannot harass you. If you are going online to take your mind off your debts, though, it can be annoying. If debt collectors are bugging you on social media, contact an Oakland lawsuits, collections, and creditor harassment lawyer.

Debt Collectors on Social Media Must Be Transparent About Their Intentions

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation sets and enforces the rules about debt collection practices. It updated its rules in 2021 in response to a similar federal law that modernized the guidelines for fair debt collection communications. When the new law went into effect, it replaced an old law that was silent about what debt collectors can and cannot say to borrowers over email, text message, and online messages, mostly because these consumer technologies did not exist in 1978, when the law had most recently been updated.

Under the current rules, debt collectors and creditors may contact borrowers via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The debt collector must state clearly that the purpose of the message is to seek repayment of a debt. The message must not be visible to anyone else except the sender and the recipient. Posting publicly visible messages on debtors’ social media accounts qualifies as harassment, just as calling them at work does. On social media, as with any other means of communication, you have the right to tell the debt collector to stop contacting you about the debt, and the debt collector must honor this request.

Unless you are prepared to pay, you should think twice before responding to a debt collection communication on social media. If you engage with the creditor about the debt, even if you do not make a payment or promise to pay, your mere response could cause the statute of limitations to start over.

Contact the Law Office of Melanie Tavare About Creditor Harassment Cases

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you find the best way to stop creditor harassment, whether that means debt settlement, filing for bankruptcy, or simply waiting it out. Contact the Law Office of Melanie Tavare in Oakland, California, or call (510)255-4646 for a free case evaluation.

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