When you fall behind on your bills, it doesn’t take long before you are being harassed by debt collectors. Whether you owe the debt or not, it is important that you understand your rights under the law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is an important law that prohibits debt collection agents from using unfair, deceptive or abusive tactics to get consumers to pay their past due accounts.
The FDCPA specifically applies to “debt collectors” which is defined as an individual or entity who routinely collects debts owed to others. This means that the statutes apply to collection agencies, lawyers who regularly collect debts and debt-buyers.
According to the FTC website, the following are examples of prohibited collection actions:
- Harassment. A collector cannot harass a consumer by threatening violence, using profane language, or calling the debtor repeatedly to annoy him into making a payment. A debt collector is prohibited from threatening to publish the consumer’s name on a list of people who refuse to pay their debts.
- Unfair practices. There are a variety of ways a collector can engage in unfair collection practices. Common examples are attempting to collect additional fees that are not allowed under the contract or by law, depositing post-dated checks early, or making threats to seize the borrower’s property when the collector has no such right.
- Deceptive statements. A debt collector is prohibited from lying about who they are or who they work for. A collector must truthfully tell you the amount you owe. Further, the collector cannot lie about actions they can take against you or falsely claim they will have you arrested for not paying your debt. Finally, a collection agent is prohibited from providing false credit information to any other parties, including credit reporting bureaus.
Consumers deserve to be treated with respect and honesty. If a debt collector is taking any of the above actions against you or is otherwise harassing you, contact the legal team at Faro & Crowder, PA, for the advice and guidance you need.