Debt Collectors and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

The current economic client is unpleasant at best. Unemployment is at an all time high and families are feeling the pain! Just when things seem like they cant get any worse, the phone calls start ! Debt collectors can be an evil and relentless bunch. Adding additional stress and aggravation to an already stressful time. Often, debt collectors coerce people in to making payments that they truly cannot afford and at great detriment to the stability of the family structure.

Well you might not realize, this but ALL DEBT COLLECTORS are highly regulated by the United States Government. Quite often their action fall well outside of legal. The best defense is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what they can and cannot do.

Read on and you will be very surprised!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDPCA 15 USC 1692 ), is a body of Federal Law designed to control unscrupulous collectors and their agencies. This Law dictates how debt collectors can act when collecting a debt from you. Violations of this law are punishable and the violators can be sued in Federal Court for money damages. If you think that your rights have been violated by a debt collector or collection agency please contact The Law Offices of Garvey, Tirelli and Cushner, LTD for a Free consult right away!

Here are 15 things a debt collector can’t do to you:

  1. Ask you to pay more than you owe
    • The collector cannot misrepresent the amount you owe.
  2. Ask you to pay interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law
    • The collector can’t add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn’t allow.
  3. Call repeatedly or continuously
    • The FDCPA considers repeat calls as harassment. And so do we!
  4. Use obscene, profane, or abusive language
    • Using this kind of language is considered harassment. Asking you why you aren’t paying your bills and other personal question can be abusive.
  5. Call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
    • Calls during these times are considered harassment.
  6. Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient
    • Calls at these times are considered harassment. This includes the Sabbath and religious holidays.
  7. Use or threaten to use violence if you don’t pay the debt
    • Collectors can’t threaten violence against you. In fact they cannot threaten you at all!
  8. Threaten action they cannot or will not take
    • Collectors can’t threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when the collector cannot or does not intend to take the action.
  9. Illegally inform a third party about your alleged debt
    • Unless you have expressly given permission, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about your debt except:
      • your attorney
      • the creditor
      • the creditor’s attorney
      • your spouse
      • your parent (if you are a minor)
  10. Repeatedly call a third party to get your location information
    • The collector can only contact a third party once unless it has reason to believe the information previously provided is false.
  11. Contact you at work knowing your employer doesn’t approve
    • A collector is not allowed to contact you at work if you’ve let them know your employer doesn’t approve of these calls. So let them know!
  12. Fail to send a written debt validation notice
    • Within five days of the collector’s initial communication, it must send you a notice include the amount of the debt, name of the creditor, and notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.
  13. Ignore your written request to verify the debt and continue to collect
    • A  collector can’t continue to collect on a debt after you’ve made a written request to verify the debt as long as the request was made within 30 days of the collector’s written notice.
  14. Continue to collect on the debt before providing verification
    • After receiving your written dispute, the collector must stop collecting on the debt until you have received verification.
  15. Continue collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice
    • If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication, it can only contact you one more time, via mail to let you know one of the following: that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated, that certain actions may be taken by the collector, or that the collector is definitely going to take certain actions.
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