Privacy and debt collection

Privacy Good Finance has published the rules for the correct processing of personal data in the context of the debt collection activity.

Disclose confidential information

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All behaviors that can damage the image or disclose confidential information of the person in question are not allowed, but unfortunately, as ascertained by the Good Finance, sometimes companies make use of decidedly invasive procedures (home or workplace visits; repeated solicitations on a landline or a mobile phone; pre-recorded telephone calls; sending of mail with the indication “credit recovery” or “notice of execution of notification” on the outside, up to the posting of notices of default on the front door.

Often even personal data of entire families were included in the database of the creditor or of the debt collection companies) and for this reason, the Good Finance decided to intervene with a general provision and prescribe the necessary measures to those who carry out the credit recovery activity because everything is carried out in compliance with the principles of lawfulness, correctness, and relevance.

The debt collection activity can be carried out directly by the creditor as well as, in his interest, by third parties.

Personal data of the debtors

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If the creditor decides to turn to third parties, he must communicate the personal data of the debtors only to the subjects in charge of the credit recovery. In fact, it is necessary to avoid that the appointee directly accesses the database of the owner/creditor, which also contains the data of other subjects.

These are, for the most part, personal data, useful information for contacting the debtor (such as, for example, the telephone numbers provided), as well as data relating to the sum due.

Both in the phase of gathering information about the debtor and in the attempt to make contact, invasive practices, or practices detrimental to personal dignity are not allowed.

To solicit and obtain the payment of sums due, it is not lawful to unjustifiably communicate information relating to non-payments to other subjects than the interested party (e.g. family members, cohabitants, work colleagues or neighbors) and to exert undue pressure on this last.

Invasive methods of searching, contacting, and soliciting such as:

  • home or workplace visits with unjustified communication to third parties
  • Prerecorded reminder telephone communications, set up without operator intervention
  • use of postcards or sending envelopes bearing the word “debt collection” or similar formulas on the outside which make the content of the communication visible to outsiders. Payment solicitations must be brought to the attention of the debtor only, using closed envelopes and without specific writings, which report only the indications necessary to identify the sender outside
  • posting of notices of default (or, in any case, of payment requests) on the door of the debtor’s home, thus making his situation public

Debt collection is the debtor’s personal data

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The data to be processed during the debt collection are the debtor’s personal data, tax code or VAT number, the amount of the credit claimed, together with the conditions of payment, and contact details, including telephone numbers.

The retention of data, except for the fulfillment of specific legal obligations which may require prolonged retention of the collected data, once the assignment has been fulfilled and the sums acquired, must be canceled

The Code regarding the protection of personal data (Legislative Decree 30 June 2003, n.196) recognizes the interested party (in this case to the debtor) the possibility of exercising against the data controller (the creditor, as for example banks, financial companies, service supply companies, etc.) some rights, specifically indicated in art. 7 of the Code (3).

Among these, the interested party has the possibility to request the origin of the data concerning him; to object, in whole or in part, for legitimate reasons to the processing of personal data by filling in the form prepared directly by the Good Finance.

All debt collection activities must take place in respect of the debtor’s personal dignity.

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