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Found on Facebook! Couple Poked With Foreclosure Notice

After an Australian couple defaulted on their $150,000 loan, and then failed to answer phone calls or emails and vanished from their home and workplaces, the lawyer for the mortgage provider turned to the next obvious place — Facebook.

With a quick search, the lawyer found two people with the same birthdays and email addresses as the missing defendants. He now had some way to tell the couple that they lost their home!

So the lawyer went to the courts for permission, and this week an Australian judge ruled that legally binding documents can be served via Facebook. But if you get into trouble in Australia, you need not worry about your online reputation — the judge required that the notice not be posted on the couples' Facebook walls, but rather sent via a private message.

Do you think Facebook communications should have legal weight?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
This would be why I don't have a Myspace account. It's too easy for the bill collectors to find me as it is... ;)
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Ugh. I have a myspace, but I haven't been on in months. If someone sent me a message, I'd have no idea for ages.
bleached bleached 8 years
If service can be made by email (the same risks that Firey brought up apply to email as well), then why not Facebook? If people are deliberately trying to make themselves scarce and make it difficult for the plaintiff to execute a judgment, then I have no objection. The burden shifts onto the defendant then to appeal the method of service.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
That's hilarious! Kudos to them. I just tracked down someone's address via facebook to send them a Christmas card. (For some reason is really rubs me the wrong way to ask someone for their address so you can send them a Christmas card, so I have to get sneaky sometimes.) They had tagged a set of photos with "Location: [their street and number]"
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That's crazy.
mrskrismendoza mrskrismendoza 8 years
This sounds good, but you guys do bring up some very valid points. I rarely go on FaceBook. And when I do, it's because I've gotten an em@il notice or something. If they never check their em@ils, who knows if they go on FaceBook a lot.
kranky kranky 8 years
I agree with Jill. There is a reason that subpoenas are served in person.
Pegona Pegona 8 years
Well, according to daytime Judge Whoever shows, text messages can be legally binding contracts, so this seems reasonable. If an imposter has made a Facebook account in your name, and you were served via Facebook, you've got a pretty good excuse for not showing up to court.
foxie foxie 8 years
I don't see what harm it could do. If they didn't check their facebooks anymore, then what does it matter if they were sent a notice in the private messages? They've gotta find them somehow, right? ....Although, couldn't he have just sent it to their regular email?
Jillness Jillness 8 years
That is absurd to me. First, a name and a birthdate aren't verified through other means on Facebook (like they would check your driver's license and SS card if you open a bank account, etc.). Secondly, just because someone has an account doesn't mean you check it!
Captivate Captivate 8 years
What about imposter accounts, mistaken identities, unchecked/abandoned accounts, etc? There are so many ways it can go wrong. It is interesting, though, to see the transition casual social networking websites have been experiencing as they expand across the general population.
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