FTC Informal Staff Opinion: Jones (12-30-92)
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Author:  David A. Szwak [ Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:08 am ]
Post subject:  FTC Informal Staff Opinion: Jones (12-30-92)

Division of Credit Practices
Bureau of Consumer Protection

December 30, 1992

Mr. Stephen R. Jones
Vice-President--Law and Policy
Council of Better Business Bureau, Inc.
4200 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22203

Dear Mr. Jones:

This is in reply to your letter of December 1, 1992, concerning whether a debt collector may communicate with a Better Business Bureau, at the Bureau's request, about a consumer complaint against the collector.

As you point out in your letter, Section 805(b) of the Act prohibits a debt collector from engaging in most third party communications "... in connection with the collection of a debt ..." On the other hand, some third party contacts made in other contexts are permitted by the Act. For example, the Staff Commentary on the Act permits contacts with government officials or auditors for the purpose of responding to inquiries or conducting audits. We believe that a contact with a Better Business Bureau, at the Bureau's request for the purpose of responding to a consumer complaint, falls within the ambit of contacts with government officials for the same purpose and is not a contact made with a view towards collecting a debt. Resolving a complaint appears to be the primary purpose of the contact. Therefore, we believe that such a contact would be permitted by Section 805(b).

I hope that this is responsive to your question.


John F. LeFevre

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