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Thread: Collections Agency Calling Employer New York

  1. #1

    Default Collections Agency Calling Employer New York

    Are collection's agencies permitted to call an employee at the work place?

    Several times individuals have called looking for an employee, regardless of whether this employee is on shift or not. They usually leave contact information for the employee to call them back at (which I informed the employee that they must do on their own time).

    But these calls are fequent, and while I know they don't constitute harassment, they are very annoying and tie-up our company lines with non-company business.

    How do I make them stop?

  2. #2
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    One employee at a time.

    My understanding, and someone is free to correct me if I am wrong, is that there is no law outright prohibiting them from calling an employee at their place of employment, but that if you tell them that the employee is not allowed to receive calls at work, OR if the employee tells them IN WRITING not to call them at work, that they have to honor that.

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    CBG, you're half right. There is no outright federal law or provision in the FDCPA that prohibits calls at work, but if the employee tells the collector that the employer has a policy of no calls at work, or simply tells them to not call at work, then they can't call anymore. There is no requirement the request be in writing. Written requests only apply to cease and desist requests for the collector to stop all forms of contact. If it is merely the employer telling the CA to stop calling I'd have to check case law, but even if there is nothing directly on point (keep in mind that different jurisdictions sometimes interpret the FDCPA in different ways; that's why we have appellate courts) that is still a claim we'd run up the flagpole. The other thing you may want to look out for are third party disclosures. If the CA gives any indication at all they are collecting against the employee, that's a violation without regard to whether the employer or employee told them to not call at work.

    Chris Gonko
    Scrimshire, Martineau, Gonko & Vavreck, PLLC

  4. #4
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    It may be a state thing then, because I know I've been told requests have to be in writing. Maybe it's only MA that requires that.

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    Default part 2

    It's possible the state has a requirement like that in order to trigger state law protection. As far as I'm aware, every state has laws that are somewhat analogous to the FDCPA, but the behavior covered and the remedies you can have vary greatly. In Minnesota, we have a state consumer protection statute that deals with collections, but there is no private right of action. A consumer's only recourse is to file a complaint with the Attorney General office. The statute essentially has no teeth because the AG's office is far too busy to respond to the several thousand complaints they receive every year. They typically only bring enforcement actions if the behavior is egregious or if they receive a large number of complaints about the same agency. Even if your state has an "in writing" requirement to trigger state protection, it would not affect the the consumer's rights and remedies under the FDCPA. Keep in mind, however, that perhaps federal courts in your jurisdiction have interpreted those portions of the FDCPA differently than the courts in my jurisdiction. The best resource to track this down for sure is the NACA organization. On their site you can find a NACA attorney in your state, and I've never known an attorney who won't give you 5 to 10 minutes to answer questions like this.

    Chris Gonko
    Scrimshire, Martineau, Gonko & Vavreck, PLLC

  6. #6
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    I realize this topic is several months old, but this info may be helpful to others.

    This issue is regulated under federal law: the Fair Debt Collection Act. It is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

    Debt collectors cannot continue calling a person at work after they have been told to stop. If the debt collector is particularly aggressive, simply tell him/her that they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Act by continuing to call and that you will file a report with the FTC if it continues. So far, that's worked for me every time (and I have a number of deadbeat employees!).

    Here is the link to the FTC's fact sheet about your rights under the FDCA, and how to report violations:

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/cons...dit/cre18.shtm
    I am a human resources professional, not an attorney. This is my opinion based on the limited facts presented and is not legal advice.

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