The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that’s been on the books since 1977. Congress recognized that debt or bill collectors were using abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices that overwhelmingly hurt American consumers. As a way to balance the scales against the debt collectors, the FDCPA allows consumers to bring a federal lawsuit against bill/debt collectors for any violation of the FDCPA.
So what counts as a violation of the FDCPA? Here are five examples:
- Talking to anyone except you, or in limited circumstances, your spouse, about a debt they are trying to collect.
- Using profanity, yelling, name calling, or any other speech which is disrespectful or undignified.
- Threatening to notify your employer, your neighbors, or any third person about the debt they are trying to collect.
- Telling a consumer that a refusal to pay a debt could result in arrest or criminal charges being brought against them.
- A debt collector can not call you at your place of employment if you have told them that you are not allowed to take such calls at your work or to stop calling you at your place of work.
Any one of those examples I gave is enough to file a federal lawsuit against the debt collector and sue for statutory damages. And more importantly, if you filed a lawsuit, would be the first step in ending those harassing phone calls.
There are plenty of other examples that I can discuss in future posts. What seems to be more important is that people – consumers – get educated on these laws and their rights under the law.