Skip to comments.Debt collectors utilize Facebook to embarrass those who owe
Posted on 11/17/2010 7:01:28 AM PST by COUNTrecount
Tampa, Florida -- Debt collectors can be relentless and downright rude on the phone, but now a St. Petersburg woman is filing suit alleging the company that financed her car loan began harassing family members over the social networking website Facebook.
Melanie Beacham says she fell behind on her car payment after getting sick and taking a medical leave from work. She contacted MarkOne Financial to explain the situation but says the harassing phone calls, as many as 20 per day, kept coming. Then one day she got a call from her sister saying the company contacted her in Georgia.
"I was telling her, 'No way, because you're not even a reference,'" said Beacham, who later found out MarkOne contacted her sister and other relatives via Facebook.
Beacham says the company claimed they were doing nothing wrong but, upset over what happened, she contacted Tampa based consumer attorney Billy Howard of Morgan & Morgan.
"Now Facebook does a debt collectors work for them. Now it's not only family members, it's all of your associates. It's a very powerful tool for debt collectors to use," says Howard.
He believes Facebook will soon become a regular method for contact if nothing is done.
"It's getting the desired result, and that is to start a domino effect of panic and embarrassment among family and friends, and people will do anything to stop that."
Howard has now filed a first of its kind lawsuit against MarkOne asking a judge to ban the company from using Facebook and other social networking websites to contact friends and family members over a debt.
10 News was unable to reach MarkOne Financial for comment Monday regarding the suit filed in Pinellas County.
Beacham hopes the lawsuit will keep debt collectors from exploiting consumers on Facebook.
"Nobody should have to go through what I went through," said Beacham. "I was hurt because I just felt I didn't need my family going through that."
While I think people should pay their debts, I do think many of the tactics employed by debt collectors are pretty disgusting.
Facebook has privacy settings for a reason.
Use them, people.
They can only harass her only if she allows them access to her page, am I right?
I’m not sure about that.
Its illegal for a debt collector to contact anyone else about your debt. But they do it all the time.
But she can’t prevent her friends and relatives from doing the same.
The law is specific, no discussion of debt with third parties not even immediat family.
The debt collector did wrong and will pay.
PAY YOUR BILLS.
If a guy has to “cheat” you to get his money back, I’m OK with that.
IIRC, doesn’t the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act specifically prohibit debt collectors from contacting anyone but the debtor regarding the debt.
Somehow, this seems a bit of a problem. She can afford facebook and can’t afford to pay her creditors. Priorities, folks!
Depends on her privacy settings. Doesn’t really matter though, this is illegal for the collection company.
Sounds like they many are mafia companies.
Yes, if she had kept that info private, no one could have seen it. You can basically privatize the whole thing.
Kinda defeats the purpose of Facebook though. She should pay her bills.
“She can afford facebook “
Which is free
‘If a guy has to cheat you to get his money back, Im OK with that.”
Really? So you only support the law for some people?
If you cut me off in traffic can I shoot you? I mean you did me wrong after all.
Facebook is free.
There is already a law against 3rd party disclosure, I wonder why this isn’t illegal already.
“If you cut me off in traffic can I shoot you? “
Of course you can.
You might go to jail though.
“You might go to jail though.”
Not under your theory of legal protections.