Q: What is the Debt Collection Rule’s general prohibition on third-party communications?
A: (UPDATED 7/27/2022)
Unless one or more of the exceptions discussed in Debt Collection Prohibitions on Third-Party Communications Question 2 applies, a debt collector must not communicate in connection with the collection of any debt with any person other than:
▪ the consumer;
▪ the consumer’s attorney;
▪ a consumer reporting agency (if otherwise permitted by law);
▪ the creditor;
▪ the creditor’s attorney; or
▪ the debt collector’s attorney.
12 CFR § 1006.6(d)(1).
For purposes of the general prohibition on third-party communications, the term “consumer” includes not only the natural person who is obligated or allegedly obligated to pay a debt but also that natural person’s: (1) spouse; (2) parent (if the natural person is a minor); (3) legal guardian; and (4) confirmed successor in interest. If the natural person who is obligated or allegedly obligated to pay the debt is deceased, the term consumer also includes the executor or administrator of the natural person’s estate as well as the natural person’s surviving spouse, surviving parents (if the natural person was a minor), and confirmed successor in interest. 12 CFR § 1006.6(a)(1)-(5); Comments 6(a)(1)-1, (a)(2)-1, and (a)(4)-1
For more information on the prohibition against third-party communications, see Section 6 in the Debt Collection Small Entity Compliance Guide.