Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Pennsylvania

If you someone money can they post it in a public forum?

Asked on 5/01/12, 4:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Could you try re-posting? The question as phrased makes no sense.

Do you mean to ask whether a creditor can post on a public forum that money is owed?

It depends. Under PA law, it would be a violation for a creditor to communicate with third-parties that a consumer owes a debt. See 73 P.S. � 2270.4 (b)(1)(ii). A creditor also cannot communicate with third-parties about a debtor unless the creditor is contacting the third-party to obtain information about the debtor's location. So if you are asking can a creditor put up on Facebook that debtor is a deadbeat, the answer is no.

The gray area comes in when you owe money to a friend - you don't pay, the friend gets mad and does something stupid (or vice a versa). The friend is bound by the same laws as any other creditor - the law makes no distinction. I have been reading about more and more people fighting back against those who post incorrect or defamatory information on public forums like facebook and myspace and although I have not researched the caselaw on this topic recently, posting information about someone's debt would fall in the same category and would expose the poster to a lawsuit. Some of these cases have resulted in big verdicts for the people who were defamed or harmed by the information.

We all have a right to express ourselves. However, with the right to free speech comes the duty to use that right wisely and to act responsibly by not harming another person. However, humans are not angels and do not always act wisely. That's why we have laws and need lawyers.

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Answered on 5/01/12, 9:51 pm

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