Is it legal for my wife’s credit card company to call me, discuss her balance, and ask me to pay it?

I received a call from a credit card company regarding a card that my wife is behind on. First the rep ask for her and when I told the rep that she was not in they asked to speak with a family member or her husband. I told the rep that I was her husband. Next the rep asked if I could make a payment, without verifying who I was (only “I’m her husband”). I asked what the balance was and the rep told me. Finally, the rep gave me her contact info (which I have kept for my records). I am not an authorized user on the account nor did I even know that she had the card. Is there action we can take? Is this legal?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Alabama

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not the proper way that a debt collection company may act in an effort to collect on a debt.  Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may not discuss the particulars of the debt with another party.  They can call to verify the debtors address - and they can call neighbors and relatives generally only once - but they are not supposed to reveal the debt or the collection proceeding. Violations of the act can result in serious penalties and fines.  You can check on-line for the act and the parameters on collection.  And I would also contact your state attorney general's office immediately to file a complaint.  Your wife, of course, is the proper party to do so. 


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