Debt collection standards expert witnesses may opine on debt, collection agents, and debt collection standards of practice. In Debt Collection Practices: When Hardball Tactics Go Too Far, The Privacy Right Clearinghouse writes:
May a debt collector contact my neighbors or family members about my debt?
Not if the collector knows your name and telephone number and could have contacted you directly. When contacting your family members including minors or neighbors to find out how to locate you, the collector:
* Cannot tell others you owe a debt or discuss details of the account.
* Must identity himself, (by name, but not as a debt collector).
* Must identity the name of the collection agency only if asked.
* Can only contact the party once unless the collection agency has reason to believe the person has new information.
* Cannot leave information about a debt on a third party’s answering machine or voice mail service.
Contacts with a spouse, the parent of a minor, a guardian, co-signer, executor, or administrator are considered the same as contacts with the debtor under the FDCPA.
If the situation results in a court judgment being entered against you, the FDCPA allows a collector to contact third parties “as reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial remedy.” However, according to the FTC , a debt collector may not send a copy of the judgment to your employer, except as part of a formal service of papers to achieve a garnishment or other remedy.