The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal act that came into existence to ensure fair debt collection. The act is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and private attorneys to protect consumers from unfair practices of the third party debt collectors.
The third party collectors often engage in techniques that can be termed as acts of harassment. Debt collector harassment makes a difference to your personal and professional life adversely. A debt collector calling your employer for payment on your debt is a violation of the FDCPA. Repeated calls on your home phone amount to disturbance and can even create psychological distress and affect your personal life.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has a set of rules that determine what can be termed as debt collector harassment. Debt collector harassment can be either written or verbal. Debt collector harassment in any form is considered a violation by the FDCPA and is punishable in a court of law.
According to the FDCPA even if you owe an amount you are entitled to be protected against debt collectors. You should be given a decent and fair treatment during the debt collection process.
The following are considered as methods of debt collector harassment:
* Calling repeatedly over the phone
* Threatening to use violence
* Using obscene or abusive language
* Calling at work place
* Calling after you request him not to call
* Not disclosing name over the phone
* Demanding more payment than due
* Sending notices that look like court notices
* Attempting to extract payment over phone
* Giving false identity of being an attorney
You have a right to stand protected and not suffer debt collector harassment. Before your professional and personal life take a downward turn you should take steps to stop these calls. The first step you should take if you are being harassed by debt collectors is to gather all possible information about the debt, collector’s name, address and phone numbers.
You should next get the caller’s mailing address. If you have received a letter from the callers for the debt payment you will already have the address. If you have not then ask for the mailing address. You may not disclose the reason for asking the address.
You should send a cease and desist letter by a certified mail with a return receipt request to this mailing address. This letter is a powerful tool to put the harassment at bay. A cease and desist (C&D)letter is to inform debt collectors officially to stop all communication with you. You may engage an FDCPA attorney to draft a C&D letter. An FDCPA attorney would know exactly what details to include in the letter.
Once you send C&D letter debt collectors should stop all collection activity. Should they continue any more attempts to collect payment on debts you can file a complaint with the FTC and pursue the case legally.
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