In the wake of stiffer laws, some debt collectors and banks have turned to the social networking as a way to track down debtors and to drum up brand new business. However, federal regulators are looking into restricting the practice.
Ways to keep away from rules
There have been a lot of rules safeguarding customers from abusive collectors, but they were established over 30 years ago. This was long before social media and the internet when the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act was put together.
The rules are fuzzy, but it is recommended that corporations that are part of the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals do not use social networking for collection, according to Mark Schiffman of the trade association.
Not everyone states no to social networking
The advice is clearly not required, so many do not listen.
Attorney Billy Howard spoke with writer Carl Dougherty about the practices of some debt collectors for a piece in Bloomberg.
“You get a friend request from some chick in a bikini,” Howard said. “You say yes, and then somebody says ‘by the way, I’m a debt collector.'”
Many think that this is way too close to harassment and may even be considered stalking.
Federal experts looking at the problem
It may not be permitted for collectors to use Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn to contact customers soon as the Federal Trade Commission and CFPB are looking into stopping abusive practices.
The federal agencies have already laid down rules for debt collection businesses, regulating aggressive rhetoric, making sure customers are kept updated on any legal actions, and also making it easier for customers to register complaints.
Checking up on financial institutions
There are also ways the public can weigh in on how financial instructions use social networking. This is something the Federal Financial institutions Examination Council is looking at and wants public opinion. Go to:
The CFPB points out that 30 million Americans are being pursued by collectors, and about $12 billion in revenue is made in the Accounts Receivable Management industry annually. That a ton of cash and a lot of abuse.
Give you opinion
Get a hold of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for Federal Trade Commission if you feel you have been harassed by debt collectors.