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Advice on a credit reference being harassed by creditor Team
UpdatedApr 15, 2024

Can the creditors call me if I am listed as a credit reference for a friend?

A casual friend used my name as a credit reference with rent a center. She is now behind on her payments and they keep calling ME! Is there anything I can do to stop this harrasment? I don't owe them anything.

The purpose of requiring credit applicants to provide credit references when applying for new credit is to provide information on people who can vouch for the applicant's credit worthiness, and who can help the creditor contact the borrower in case he or she defaults on the loan. If a borrower fails to repay a debt, the creditor is allowed to contact third parties, such as credit references, neighbors, and relatives, but only if the creditor is unable to contact the debtor directly, and only to obtain accurate contact information for the debtor. For example, the creditor could call you to ask if you have a current telephone number for your friend; however, the creditor cannot disclose that it is trying to collect on a debt, or any details of the account. If the creditor has disclosed such information to you, it may have violated federal and/or state law, specifically the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law that regulates debt collection. In addition, collectors are generally not allowed to repeatedly call third parties seeking contact information.

Your being a credit reference on a loan application does not make you legally liable for your friend's debt; you should not allow these collectors to intimidate you into believing that you owe this debt and that you are responsible for its repayment. Unless you were a co-signer on the account, meaning you signed the loan agreement stating that you would be responsible for the debt if friend failed to make payment, you should have no legal obligation to pay this account. The next time this creditor calls, you should demand that they stop calling you. You should follow this request with a letter to the creditor explaining that you are not liable for the repayment of the debt, and that the creditor must stop calling you. If the calls continue, you may want to consider consulting with an attorney to determine what recourse you have against the creditor for its repeated harassment. You may want to contact the American Consumers' Union at for assistance in locating an attorney in your area who can help you stop this harassment.

For additional information about credit and debt collection, I encourage you to visit the Credit Information page at I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to stop these calls, and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.



Did you know?

If you are struggling with debt, you are not alone. According to the NY Federal Reserve total household debt as of Quarter Q4 2023 was $17.503 trillion. Student loan debt was $1.601 trillion and credit card debt was $1.129 trillion.

According to data gathered by from a sample of credit reports, about 26% of people in the US have some kind of debt in collections. The median debt in collections is $1,739. Student loans and auto loans are common types of debt. Of people holding student debt, approximately 8% had student loans in collections. The national Auto/Retail debt delinquency rate was 4%.

Each state has its rate of delinquency and share of debts in collections. For example, in Idaho credit card delinquency rate was 2%, and the median credit card debt was $389.

While many households can comfortably pay off their debt, it is clear that many people are struggling with debt. Make sure that you analyze your situation and find the best debt payoff solutions to match your situation.



KKelli Henslee, Aug, 2014

I am finding out that I have a creditor from a credit collection agency name Pioneer calling anyone and everyone that has had contact with me ...even going as far as telling one of them I had him listed as a long lost relative's me ex-husband from over 20 years ago that I have had NO contact with in almost 15 years and have NEVER listed as a reference on student loans. Only to find out today that this same creditor has called my recent ex-husband's ex-wife from over 20 years ago looking for me. Is this against the law in Indiana? I have 2 people tell me that they believe so.... and not so long ago I had one tell me during a message left on my voicemail that they could tell I was receiving their emails....felt like I was being stalked.

DDaniel Cohen, Nov, 2014

Collection agents are limited in what they can say, both to you and to third-parties, by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act(FDCPA).

I recommend that you speak with an attorney that handles cases involving violations of the FDCPA. This kind of attorney usually charges no fee to you, but collects a fee from the collection agent that violates the law, if a violation can be proven.

BBill, May, 2008
You should contact the customer service at Freedom Debt Relief, at the earliest. They will take necessary steps so that the calls can be stopped. The creditors will keep pushing their luck if you do not do anything about it. For example, it is illegal for them to call your wife, if she has nothing to do with the debts. There are steps you can take such as sending them a cease communication notice, which the folks at Freedom Debt Relief should be able to help you with.
RRosendo DeLeon, May, 2008
My debts are being handled by Freedom Debt Relief. But I have a creditor that has been harrasing me by calling me at work and disrupting my class while I am trying to teach my high school students. Not only that they are calling my wife in her cell phone about my debt. She has nothing to do with the debt. What can I do about this?