The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate and govern debt collection practices. The FDCPA and the state debt collection statutes constitute protection cover against illegal and unethical debt collection practices.
The FDCPA lays down rights of consumers for a fair collection of a debt. Your rights protect you against unfair debt collection practices. However, the FDCPA does not protect any legitimate debt.
When you fail to make debt repayment on time you may be contacted by a creditor or a collector engaged by the original creditor otherwise known as a debt collector. A third party agency or a debt collector who has bought the debt from the original creditor can also approach you for payment.
All types of personal, household and family debts are covered in the FDCPA. These include auto loans, medical expenses and charge cards.
In a recent case of debt collector harassment from Elyria, Ohio, a debtor was threatened with a lawsuit and imprisonment. Debt collectors went to the extent of claiming to reach debtor’s house with the police to press arrest. The lady was shaken by this incident and did not contact anyone for the fear of debt collector’s threats. Debt collection methods are taking ugly turns with collectors resorting to the worst kind of techniques.
In the above situation the harassed lady should ask for validation of debt. Not validating a debt is a violation of the FDCPA. She could have stopped the collector from contacting her by sending a letter (cease and desist) to the collection agency to stop all communication through certified mail. After receiving the cease and desist letter collectors may call her once more to inform of their next action.
Such horrific situations can be avoided if you learn your rights in the FDCPA. Debt collection practices are strictly governed by the FDCPA. According to the Act, a collector can contact you for debt on phone, by email or fax, by mail or telegram. He can call you between 8 am and 9 pm. He should not threaten you with actions he does not propose to take. He should not pose to be an attorney or a police personnel to extract money from you.
Whatever the status of you debt if you are harassed by debt collectors, you may engage an attorney who is well versed in the FDCPA. Debt collectors should be informed of your attorney and they should contact him only once you engage an attorney. Once you are represented by an attorney the debt collector cannot contact a third party for any information about you.
It is a violation if debt collectors do not disclose their identity or quote a wrong payment amount. Debt collectors must disclose the name of original creditors at your request. All collection efforts must be stopped if you request for validation of debt. They may resume collection activity after validating the debt.
If you are facing charge of multiple debts, the payment has to deducted against the debt strictly mentioned by you. Debt collectors do not have the right to deduct payment against a debt other than the one you mentioned.
Knowledge of your rights in the FDCPA definitely give you an edge over the debt collectors who violate the FDCPA. You may contact an FDCPA attorney if you wish to sue the debt collection agency for FDCPA violations.
About the Author:
WeStopDebtCollectors.com has a team of highly qualified and experienced professionals from the field of consumer law and has handled more than 30,000 consumer actions ( Debt collector harassment ) with over 98 percent of these cases being amicably resolved without the need for trial.