What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, known as the “FDCPA”, is a federal law that governs the actions of collection agencies and law firms. It protects consumers from abusive conduct by debt collectors. It prohibits debt collectors from using any false, deceptive or misleading means to collect a debt.
If a Debt Collector Violates the FDCPA, You Are Entitled To Money Damages and Attorneys’ Fees. We sue debt collectors who violate the law. There are no attorneys’ fees unless you receive a recovery.
What debts are covered?
Debts incurred primarily for personal, family or household purposes are covered under the FDCPA. Business debts are not covered.
The following are some of the more common violations by collectors:
- Calling you at work after you tell the collector you can’t take calls at work
- Communicating with others regarding your debt
- Calling your family, friends, employers or co-workers
- Disregarding a written request from you to cease further contact
- Harassing you, abusing you, threatening violence against you
- Threatening to destroy your reputation
- Adding improper charges to the debt
- Lying to you or falsely implying that you have committed a crime
- Using any unfair, deceptive, false or misleading practice in an attempt to collect a debt
- Concealing their identity on the phone
- Failing to fully identify themselves
- Using obscene or profane language or simply not dealing with you in a professional manner
What are the rules under the FDCPA that govern communications by debt collectors?
Collectors cannot disclose your debt to anyone except you or your spouse. Collectors cannot call or write anyone regarding your debt except you and your spouse.
Debt collectors are not allowed to communicate by postcard or use any symbol or envelope that shows they are a debt collector.
How can an attorney help you with debt collectors?
Once a debt collector learns you are represented by an attorney and has the contact information for the attorney, the debt collector can only communicate with the attorney.
If any of your rights have been violated under the FDCPA, you have one year from the date of the violation to file a lawsuit against the debt collector. You may be entitled to money damages and attorneys’ fees.
What can you do if you feel you are a victim of debt collection abuse?
As soon as a collector contacts you start a file. Make notes of times and dates of phone calls. Your notes should include the date of the call, the approximate time of the call, what the collector said to you, and what you said to the collector. A good way of making a record of calls from collectors is to send an email to us, a family member, or a friend regarding what happened. If third parties are called regarding your debt ask them to take notes of what was said or send you an email confirming the conversation with the collector.
If you have the ability, record all your phone conversations. If this is not possible make sure you take notes of all your conversations. Save all your correspondence and the envelopes from collectors. Collectors are required to give you a written notice within 5 days of verbally contacting you.
Save all debt collection letters, the envelopes they come in, and messages that are left on your home or cell phones. Take photos of the incoming calls from collectors on your home, business or cellular phone.