Friday, March 25, 2011

One thing Facebook is not good for: Collecting Debts!

Facebook, Twitter and social networks have grown well beyond their initial intentions. Like many online tools, businesses have found ways to use these networks to their advantage, whether through traditional straightforward advertising, or guerrilla marketing strategies. In some ways the possibilities are endless. But, a debt collection agency in Florida recently discovered one of the limitations on using these networks.

According to a recent article on The Washington Post online, a Florida judge ordered Mark One Financial LLC of Jacksonville, Fla., a debt collection agency, to not use Facebook or any other social media site in an attempt to locate a woman over a $362 unpaid car loan. The Judge also prohibited the company from contacting the woman's Facebook friends.

The Judge felt, and I can understand why, that contacting the debtor on a public forum such as Facebook was a violation of the debtor's privacy. But just because they can't contact you, doesn't mean debt collectors aren't still using social networks and online resources to find out information about you. Remember that anything you post online is now out there and available for your creditors to find.

For more information about Massachusetts law relating to Debt Collection and fair practices visit the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries page here.

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