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Collection Agencies and Privacy Laws

Redding, CA |

Do collection agencies exchange information and is my account with a collection agency confidential? In California, what California Laws and/ or Federal Laws apply?

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Attorney answers 3


Your answer depends on what kind of information you are talking about.

Collection agencies certainly exchange information about your debts; that's what credit reporting bureaus are for. But the bureaus cannot just release that information to just anyone. It can only release it to people to whom you have applied for credit.

State and federal law prohibits collection agencies from telling people like neighbors and family that you owe them money.

Do they share money about your assets? It seems that they would have an incentive not to do so.


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is available online, sets forth consumer rights against collection efforts by creditors.


Collection and credit reporting nation-wide are regulated under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Each state can have stricter collection laws, and California has its own collection law called the Rosenthal Act. Whether or not states can have stricter credit reporting laws poses a fairly complex question of federal preemption.

Unrelated collection agencies cannot legally share information directly with one another. However, a collection agency can report a collection item on your credit report which will be seen by any other collection agency that reviews your credit report. Collection agency information is generally confidential; however, credit reporting is specifically allowed.

Skaar & Feagle, LLP maintains offices in Marietta (770 427 5600) and Decatur (404 373 1970), Georgia. The information ("the answer") provided above is for general information and educational purposes only. The answer should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Posting the question and reviewing the answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. My firm will ask you to sign a written contract prior to the commencement of representation in any attorney-client relationship. Please contact 770 427 5600 or 404 373 1970, if you wish to discuss your situation further. Skaar & Feagle, LLP accepts select consumer rights cases. These cases include, but are not limited to, cases of abusive and unlawful collection activity, debt defense, credit reporting of false or obsolete (old) information, high interest lenders (title pawns, payday loans), debt management plans, and fraud or unfair practices in the sale and financing of automobiles.