If you’re having money troubles, here’s at least a small stress off your back: your debt collectors won’t be able to contact you through a tweet or a status update.
The Mirror is reporting that the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which oversees the guidelines that debt collectors must adhere to, has outlined new rules for engaging with debtors on Twitter and Facebook.
In order to help the debtor reduce his or her “stress and embarrassment”, and avoid his or her money troubles from being made public, debt collectors may no longer contact debtors via social networks.
The OFT says that they have dealt with a handful of complaints of debt collectors harassing debtors on Twitter or Facebook, but that the new guidelines are meant more as a future proof against this kind of activity. This will prevent debt collectors from increasingly turning to social networks to publicly call out the debtor, and shame him or her on a public forum.
The rules established by the OFT apply to traditional debt collectors, but also any organization which might seek to collect a debt from an individual: banks, credit card companies or law firms included.
Specifically, debt collectors are cautioned against “posting messages on social networking sites in a way that might potentially reveal that an identifiable person is being pursued for the repayment of a debt.”
So if you’re living in the UK and you have money troubles, you don’t have to look over your shoulder every time you tweet.