A debt collector left a message on my shared voicemail. Also, I think the language the collector used was mildly threatening. Is this legal?
It depends. The federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) places limitations on how and when a debt collector can contact you, and what it says when it does. That includes leaving voicemails.
Also, threatening language is illegal under the FDCPA.
As of November 30, 2021, amendments to the FDCPA permits a collector to leave voicemails, which could be heard by someone other than the debtor. But the voicemail must be a "limited-content message." A debt collector who leaves a limited-content message doesn't violate the FDCPA's prohibition against third-party communications.
A limited-content message is a voicemail that includes the following:
In addition, a limited-content message may include one or more of the following:
But the voicemail can't contain any other information.
In general, a collection agency can't harass, oppress, or abuse you when trying to collect a debt. Under the FDCPA, the collector can't:
Your state's laws might provide you with additional protection.
If you think you're being harassed or treated unfairly by a debt collector, consider talking to an attorney to learn more about your rights.