The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Source: FDCPA from the FTC (link)
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (better known as the FDCPA), was created for the intentions of protecting consumers from abusive practices by debt collection agencies. Through the FDCPA, consumers will be able to find laws in regards to creditor harassment, misleading representations or unfair collection practices. Throughout the FDCPA, consumers can find more information about State regulation laws, when the FDCPA went into effect and how they are protected. As always, if you feel you’ve been violated through these laws it’s ideal to contact a local attorney or a debt relief attorney that specializes in creditors.
The FDCPA (15 U.S.C. § 1692) is a statute added in 1978 under the United States set of laws. This is listed within Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The purpose of this is to stop the abusive practices that creditors use in order to collect on consumer debt (whether secured or unsecured). When researching the FDCPA, it’s important to know that the FDCPA was created for outside collection agencies, meaning not internal collectors for the original creditor. This means that if a consumer had an account with Bank of America and Bank of America was calling you, these set of rules would not necessary apply. The FDCPA was created for external creditors that eventually buy your debt from these original creditors. This tends to happen when the consumer fails to make the minimum payments for a specific set of months then the debt ends up sold.
The conduct not allowed under the FDCPA
- Misrepresentation of the debt: Misrepresenting the debt owed or using tactics to say or do whatever in order to get the consumer to pay is not allowed. The debt collectors cannot state that they are attorneys or law enforcement and that certain things will happen given the consumer does not pay. Many times consumers will call in saying that “Creditor ABC” said that they would go to jail given they didn’t make a payment over the phone. This would constitute as a misrepresentation of collection under the FDCPA
- The hours of contact: According to the FDCPA, the creditors can only contact the consumer between the hours of 8am and 9pm in the consumers time zone. Calling before or after these hours is a violation of the FDCPA and should be dealt with accordingly. Similar to the statement above, we often get consumers whom say the creditors call far after 10PM. This would be deemed illegal under these laws.
- Failure to cease and desist: A cease and desist notice is when a consumer writes the creditor requesting that they cease any communication by phone. It’s usually advised to write the creditors by US Certified Mail when doing this, and by law – the consumers must comply with a cease and desist order. This rule applies to calling the consumer at home, work, cellular or people whom may know the consumer. Failure for the creditors to comply with the cease and desist notifications can result in you taking legal action and possibly imposing a fine of some sort.
- Abusive or forms of profanity: We all know that creditors can have an attitude, especially when they get paid commission to collect money from you over the phone and you don’t pay. But the fact of the matter is, these creditors cannot use forms of profanity or threaten you in anyway. It’s important for consumers to remember these laws and not become a victim of creditor harassment when they can easily put a stop to it. According to the statute laws in the FDCPA, consumers can cease and desist telephone calls to stop this.
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