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."
but this scenario leaves a trail and now is actionable far easier than a subpoena to obtain recordings which may have been “erased” by accident.
Don’t have one, sorry. But if you are willing to shoot someone for cutting you off in traffic, you probably need to be put away. That’s my theory anyway
Pretty stupid of the collection company. They have gotten extremely aggressive from what I understand. They will call neighbors, family members, friends.
Once you show that you know the law they will sometimes back down.
Why should anyone other than the debtor be harassed? It is neither their debt nor their responsibility.
When we first moved, and obtained our phone number, we received phone calls from morning to night for whomever the previous holder of the phone number was, and these collectors were the most rude, disgusting people with whom I've ever dealt (and I work in criminal appeals). I would answer and when I would politely inform them that this was not the X household, we had just gotten the number, I was called liar, was threatened with law suits, etc. I even sent a cease and desist letter to two particular firms, and AFTER they received our certified letter, they continued to call. When I told them I would be reporting them to the Attorney General’s office, they called me a thief and a lowlife. I recorded all the phone calls and turned them over to the Attorney Generals’ office. All this harassment because I had the misfortune of being assigned a phone number that had previously belonged to a debtor. After that experience, I am thankful for the FDCPA, and while I've not had to avail myself upon it again, I do heartily believe that just as everyone else must, debt collectors, too, must abide by the law.
This no different from using a phone book to look for possible relatives to call.
Should people pay their debts? Yes. Are debt collectors scumbuckets? Yes.
Of course, a Facebook account is free. But one does need an Internet connection. And that costs $$$$. There are places where one can connect with the Internet at no charge; but that requires a personal computer. Public libraries offer, at no charge, use of computers with Internet connection, but libraries may block social networking, such as Facebook. I recently stayed at a hotel which provided, in the lobby, a computer with Internet, and they allowed Facebook connection.
I wholeheartedly agree. I started getting debt collection calls at my office related to a former employee. It got to the point where they would call 5 and 6 times a day, and in the evening when I was trying to get work done. It was disrupting my entire business.
They told me that they "had permission" from my former employee to call here, I guess she probably gave her work number on the credit application. I told them repeatedly that it was MY phone and they didn't have MY permission to call - they just kept calling anyway.
I finally told one jerk that I was going to report him to the consumer bureaus, and so the dirtbag just put his phone on redial so it would ring and ring in my office - I'd pick it up, no one would be there and when I hung up it would start ringing a few seconds later.
These people are the absolute scum of the earth. It still doesn't keep them from sending me hundred pounds of junk mail every year with enticing offers to sign up for the latest citibank or Capital One credit card scam.
Their "right to conduct business" ends when it disrupts my right to conduct business. I am for ANY law that gets them the eff out of my face, and I would support hard jail time for these dirtbags that violate them.
Is it "contact" or something like "contact in person, by phone or by mail"? Has the law not kept up with advancing technology and the debt collectors are taking advantage of that?
“But if you are willing to shoot someone for cutting you off in traffic, you probably need to be put away. “
If you are willing to exclude citizens from legal protections you are more dangerous than some road rage guy.
To be fair, I don’t know, but now I’m curious. Guess I know what I’ll be looking up on my lunch break. lol. You do make a good point, though.
Unless the law has been amended, the FDCPA only applies to third party collectors, not the first party lender.
I agree with you to a point. Some people are true deadbeats who have no scruples about not paying their bills.
There are however truly good people who are in a bad situation who have fallen behind..they should not be punished the same as the deadbeats.
That happened to a friend who was retired. He loved it. He would cuss them back and laugh at them, tell them to sue, encourage them to provide “sexual favors” to him, etc. He was an Italian guy from the Bronx and spoke like a cab driver. They finally figured out he wasn’t Hector Menedez and quit calling.
He stills gets calls from time to time.
‘This no different from using a phone book to look for possible relatives to call.”
Correct, thats illegal as well. Contacting a 3rd party is illegal and if taken to court will generally result in an award.
Lenders knew the laws and constraints when they made the loan. They should live with their business risk.
That’s what I get for not thoroughly reading the article. I misunderstood. Actually, I saw “debt collector” and assumed, despite reading the article.
This will work great until they slander a party that doesn’t have any outstanding debt - then they’ll get sued and lose a significant sum of money.
That is exactly what occurred to me. I changed my phone number, and I continued to get the phone calls. They followed me to a new number! I still to this day, (and this has been going on for 3 years) can’t get a single one of these scumbags to explain to me why they think I am connected to “Juan Garcia”.
Sounds like my kind of guy. :) I bet that made for some interesting phone calls. It is frustrating though, when they are calling MY residence, and then act as though the burden is mine to prove who I am.