If you are facing financial difficulties and debt collectors have started calling, it is important that you understand what your rights are under the law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive or abusive practices when trying to collect a debt from an individual borrower.
A debt collector, as defined under the FDCPA, is a party who regularly collects money owed to others. Included in this definition is collection agencies, lawyers who routinely collect debts, and companies that buy past due accounts and attempt to collect on them.
There are a variety of tactics used by debt collectors that may be considered unfair or abusive. The FTC website provides extensive information regarding the actions that are prohibited under the law, but below are a few of the more illegal common practices you should be aware of when dealing with debt collectors. It is illegal for a collector to:
- Attempt to collect additional amounts that are not permitted by the contract you signed with the creditor or under the law
- Falsely claim that the borrower has committed a crime by not paying the debt
- Use profane language when talking to the borrower
- Deposit a post-dated check before the date on the check
- Threat to publish the borrower’s name on a public list if the debt is not paid
- Lie about the amount owed
- Threaten to seize the borrower’s assets unless it can be done legally
- Contact a borrower by postcard and revealing confidential information
- Threaten violence if the debt is not paid
- Call the borrower repeatedly in an attempt to annoy the borrower into paying
- Lie about who they are or who the work for
- Provide false credit information about the borrower to third parties
If you are being harassed by a debt collector in one or more of the above ways, contact us for help. We will investigate whether the debt collector is legitimate (and not a scam artist) and make the illegal collection activity stop. In certain circumstances, you may be able to recover damages for the debt collector’s illegal activity!