I'm considering in regards to freedom of expression, is it permitted for a company to reveal a persons dept for a service provider, is it contrary to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), I know that Uber and AirBnb are rating their customers, my question is is it legal to share the customer experience and their payment with other service providers, or can they claim lawsuits as a violation of privacy or what.

1 Answer 1


If the company is a "debt collector", then it may not be legal. 15 USC 1692c(b) states that without the consumer's direct consent (or other probably irrelevant conditions)

a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.

except that there are legals ways to ask where the consumer is. Then one must determine if the company is a "debt collector", which is defined in 15 USC 1692a(6). If the company is collecting on behalf of someone else, they are a debt collector. This would also include a creditor who uses a

name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts

so for instance if Jones owes money to Acme Anvils and Acme Anvils attempts to collect on that debt, using the name Acme Anvils, they are not a debt collector (they are a creditor). Subparagraph (A) specifically excludes

any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor

and there are other exclusions. That said, my understanding is that California has a version of the law that applies to original creditors as well. These laws pertain just to debt collection, and do not limit any First Amendment rights to expression of opinion or true fact (that is, the company can't defame a customer).

  • thanks very well explained, just what will be considered a right of expression vs defame a customer, the plan is to build a database with customer ratings.
    – P H
    May 2, 2016 at 18:18

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