Can my personal debt be publicly announced in the newspaper without my permission?

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Can my personal debt be publicly announced in the newspaper without my permission?

This has recently happened. I thought it was illegal to disclose personal debt or unpaid balances to be printed in press or announced publicly. Can the place of business get into trouble?

Asked on July 21, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no general law saying that a personal debt may not be publically disclosed, though there may be situations in which it is improper. If the disclosure was factually incorrect in a negative way--for example, the announcement claimed you owed more than you do--you may have a cause of action for defamation. On the other hand, if there has been a judgment against you (e.g. they sued you and won, or you defaulted in the lawsuit), then that, like other court documents, is public information and there is no liability for disclosing it. For a more definitive answer, you may wish to resubmit your question with additional detail: e.g. whether there is or is not a judgment; or if not a judgment, has a lawsuit been filed or not; is the amount listed correct or incorrect; is it the original creditor or a third-party collections agency disclosing the information; etc.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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