FDCPA – Stop Collectors

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is an amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act that provides legal protection from abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA is meant to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, promote fair debt collection practices as well as to provide consumers with a way to dispute and obtain validation of debt information to ensure the accuracy of reported information.The FDCPA established guidelines under which debt collectors may perform their business, defined consumer rights pertaining to debt collection and set down penalties and remedies for violations. It is often used in combination with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FDCPA proscribes “abusive and deceptive” behavior when bill collectors are attempting to collect debts. Some of these directives include, but are not limited to:

  • Consumers may only be contacted by telephone between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Collectors must cease communicating with consumers (other than litigation) upon receiving written notice that the consumer does not wish further communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt. Exceptions include advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies
  • Collectors may not cause a telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously; likewise engage any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse or harass any person at the called number
  • Collectors may not Communicate with consumers at their place of employment when they have  been told that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer
  • Collectors may not contact the consumer who is known to be represented by counsel
  • Misrepresenting the debt or using deception to collect the debt, including a debt collector’s misrepresentation that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officeris prohibited
  • Collectors may not Publish the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list
  • Threatening arrest or legal action that is not permitted nor actually contemplated
  • Abusive language used in the course of communication related to the debt
  • Communication with third parties about the nature of debts with third parties (other than the consumer’s spouse or attorney); certain exceptions apply
  • Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection

Conversely, all debt collectors must adhere to the following when contacting or dealing with alleged debtors:

The Act requires debt collectors to do the following (among other requirements):

  • Debt collectors must identify themselves and notify the consumer that the communication is from a debt collector, and that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt
  • Upon written notice, the consumer must be given the name and address of the original creditor (company to which the debt was originally payable)
  • Consumers must be notified of their right to dispute stated debt and must be provided with verification of said debt; conditions apply
  • If a debt collector chooses to file a lawsuit, it must be done in a place where the consumer lives or signed the contract; conditions apply

Since 2006, tens of thousands of Americans have taken debt collectors to court for violations of the FDCPA.

Debts are a legal responsibility that must be paid off. It is the job of a debt collector to have their facts straight and contact the alleged debtor under the guidelines set by the FDCPA. The FDCPA provides a mechanism to defend yourself against unscrupulous collection agencies.

Before you file any personal bankruptcy, you need a bankruptcy lawyer with extensive experience and a national reputation who is on your side. Call us right away to talk to an experienced bankruptcy rep from Client First Bankruptcy toll-free at 800.383.8180.