Unlawful Debt Collection and Violation of Personal Data Protection

Unlawful Debt Collection and Violation of Personal Data Protection

There is a case study extracted from the case between the plaintiff, which is an ordinary person, and the defendants and its parent company by an offense of the violation under the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) (“PDPA”) and Debt Collection Act B.E. 2558 (2015) (“DCA”).

According to the plaint, the financial institution filed a court case against the plaintiff’s debt outstanding payment roughly 15 – 20 years ago and obtained a court decision to enforce the mortgage and all of the plaintiff’s assets, which were auctioned off and beforehand assigned to creditors. Currently, a group of people claiming to represent that the defendants phoned the plaintiff using a call center process for debt collection, causing disruption. Plus, the plaintiff has never given written consent regarding the phone number that has been used by a call center for any debt collection. While the defendants claimed that such a phone number has been acquired from the electronic reply letter with the plaintiff’s consent given to the Bank of Thailand (“BOT”), the plaintiff stated that it was registered after the debt was extinct. According to the PDPA, which requires consent – if not having other legal bases – from the data subject before using, collecting, or disclosing personal data, it is reasonable to assume that the phone number was collected as personal data without the plaintiff’s consent.

As a result, Plaintiff submitted the following request to the court against the defendants in relation to PDPA and DCA as follows:

  1. Request that the court orders the defendants to reveal the acquisition of personal data on the basis of the plaintiff’s rights as a data subject as per Section 30 of the PDPA, which grants the data subject the right to request access to and disclosure of personal data. Thus, the plaintiff has the right to request the court to order the defendants to reveal personal data obtained without consent.
    • Request that the court orders the defendants to collectively pay 25 Satangs in compensation for the unlawful use of a phone number, which is general personal data that can identify the data subject under the PDPA.
    • Request that the court orders the defendants and all representatives to erase all plaintiff’s personal data from the system according to the data subject’s right to object to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal data at any time under Section 32 of PDPA.
    • Request that the court orders the defendants to collectively pay 25 Satangs in compensation for violating the DCA, according to debt collection by frequent unnecessary and annoying calls where the action is not related to the purpose of the DCA, which aims to regulate debt collection in an appropriate manner, to protect privacy rights, and to impair the reputation, false information, and trouble causing to others.
woman wearing hooded pullover hoodie facing tablet computer

In conclusion, many people are currently suffering as an effect of debt collecting via a call center process. As a result, the plaintiff intends for this case to serve as an example of illegal debt collection and personal data violation as he requests such an amount of compensation. Currently, the court accepted the case on 28 April 2023 in which the result of the court’s order will be granted after witness hearing proceeding. For another option, the plaintiff can also file a complaint with the Personal Data Protection Committee (“PDPC”) for consideration and order for the administrative penalty against the defendants.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn, Managing Partner.