ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 18 (UPI) -- A Florida judge barred a debt collection agency from using Facebook to hound a debtor in a ruling that may set a precedent.
Melanie Beacham of St. Petersburg is suing MarkOne Financial of Jacksonville in Pinellas Circuit Court after its agents repeatedly e-mailed, texted and called her -- 23 times in one day, she said.
She also said a MarkOne employee calling himself Jeff Happenstance sent her and her friends Facebook messages, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
In March, Judge W. Douglas Baird ordered the company to stop using social media to contact Beacham, her family or friends, the Tri-Parish Times of Louisiana reported.
Beacham's harassment suit is still pending.
"That is something we've been fighting for," her attorney, Billy Howard, told the Sentinel. He also is suing MarkOne for another client.
Mark Schiffman, spokesman for the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, was not pleased.
"It's dangerous ground because it's new ground," he said. "Like anything, case law gets built because of challenges to how people are using something. We encourage [agencies] to make sure they are very careful in following the law."
MarkOne did not respond to a call for comment.