The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and private attorneys, allows to check the abusive conduct by debt collectors. This was also in the wake of the number of bankruptcies increasing due to these practices. The FDCPA provides guidelines for debt collectors collecting legitimate debts and provides protections and remedies for debtors.
The FDCPA covers all personal debts, family, household and medical debts, and credit card bills. The FDCPA is a federal law and different states in the United States have different debt collection laws. While filing a case you must take into consideration both the state and federal laws. The state laws are similar to the federal laws in structure but may cover a broader range of debts.
In house debt collectors or debt collectors engaged by creditors are normally not governed by the FDCPA. The Act governs third party collectors.
A debt collector should inform you the following in writing:
* The amount of money you owe
* The name of the original creditor to whom you owe
* Debt collectors should mention that unless you dispute the validity of the debt or a part of the debt, the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector
* If you dispute the validity of the debt in full or in part within the thirty day period, the debt collector will send you the debt verification
* The debt collector will provide the name of the original creditor in reply to your written request within thirty day period
* If the creditor mentioned by the debt collector is different from the original creditor, the debt collector should provide you the details of the original creditor
* Debt collector needs to send a warning stating that the communication is from a debt collector and that the information he collects may be used to collect debt
* The first notice from debt collectors as well as all subsequent communication should contain this warning
Debt collectors are not bound by the initial thirty day period to continue the debt collection process. The only measure that debt collectors must take care of is to abide by the rights you have in the FDCPA. Their debt collection methods should be within the guidelines under the FDCPA.
Failing to send information is tantamount to violating the FDCPA. In 2009, 22,708 complaints of the total FDCPA complaints or 25.7% were about debt collectors not providing the required notices. This was 10% more than the complaints in 2008 which was 15.7%.
Verifying debts at your written request is mandatory under the FDCPA. If debt collectors do not verify the disputed debts, they must cease all collection efforts. In 2009, 11.5% of all FDCPA complaints were about not verifying disputed debts.
It is imperative for debt collectors to send consumer notices. The absence of such notices is considered a violation of the FDCPA. Your rights under the FDCPA protect you against such violations. You may contact an FDCPA attorney if you are a victim of such a violation.
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