A Florida judge has set an important precedent for consumer rights: ruling that a debt collector may not use Facebook to try to contact a woman who had an unpaid car loan of $362.
The judge also ruled that the debt collector, Mark One Financial LLC of Jacksonville, could not contact the debtor’s family and friends via Facebook or any other form of social media. Her attorney said that this behavior violates a Florida law prohibiting debt collectors from harrassing people.
Over the past four months, almost a dozen potential clients have contacted the woman’s attorney, Billy Howard, with similar complaints about other debt collectors. Like he told the Associated Press, “It’s the beginning of an epidemic.”
The debt collector already had the woman’s contact information but turned to Facebook to try to pressure her into paying. Asking friends and family of a debtor about the person’s whereabouts prompts those people to ask the person in question about the amount owed, which can be humiliating.
These tactics seem to have surfaced due to the challenging economic climate that makes it much harder for anyone to collect on a debt. So Howard and his client Melanie Beacham have done a great deed for consumers in filing this lawsuit that hopefully will help rein in the likelihood that anyone else might try to pressure debtors via social media?
Readers, what do you think about the outcome of this lawsuit?