The debt collection industry is well-known for its harassing tactics used to persuade consumers to pay their debts. As a result, an important set of laws called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed to provide consumers with a variety of protections from creditors using deceptive or abusive practices in their collection efforts.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is defined as an individual or entity that regularly collects debts owed to others. Collection agencies, lawyers who routinely collect debts and debt-purchasers may all be included in this definition.
According to the FTC website there are a wide variety of actions that are prohibited, including the following:
- Unfair practices. A debt collector must act fairly and legally when attempting to collect a debt from you. Examples of prohibited unfair practices include attempts to collect additional amounts that are not permitted by law or contract, depositing post-dated checks early, threatening to seize your property when it cannot be done legally, or contacting the consumer regarding the debt by postcard or other public means.
- Harassment. A debt collector is prohibited from threatening violence, using profane language or repeatedly calling you in an effort to annoy you into making a payment. Also, a collector cannot threaten to add you to a published list of people who have refused to pay their debts.
- False statements. A debt collector is prohibited from lying about who they are or who they work for. They must tell you the truth regarding the amount that you owe and actions they will take against you. It is unlawful for the collector to claim that you have committed a crime by not paying your debt. The documents that a debt collector sends to you must also be true and correct. Any information provided by the collector to a third-party, such as a credit reporting bureau, must be true.
Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful. If you believe you are being illegally harassed or you are ready to take action to handle your debt, let us help. We can review your individual financial situation and help you understand all of the debt relief options available to you.
If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.