Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Have you received threatening debt collection letters in the mail? Do you dread picking up the phone when you see a number that you don’t recognize? Are you being contacted by companies you’ve never heard of who are trying to collect a debt that you don’t remember owing? Collection agencies make millions every year by trampling over the legal rights of debtors (or those they carelessly mistake to be debtors) because so many consumers are unaware of their rights to stop harassing collection activities and recover damages for illegal conduct.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted into law (Federally, in addition to available state laws) to remedy and prevent abuses of consumer rights by debt collectors, and prompt ethical business practices by them. Broadly speaking, the FDCPA provides civil liability for debt collectors for violating the rights of consumers, and provides for a specific set of obligations relating to notifying the consumer of an alleged debt and providing validating information about such debt shortly after making contact with the consumer. Additionally, the FDCPA requires collectors to cease contacting consumers or to only contact an attorney if so directed, providing relief to good people who feel hounded in their own home for debts they may or may not owe. Finally, the FDCPA specifically prohibits certain forms of conduct, such as informing third parties about the existence of a supposed debt, harassing consumers, making false or misleading representations, or a list of other unfair practices.
You have rights against the collectors!
- Debt collectors can’t threaten you, your property, or your reputation
- You have a right to not be misled or lied to by collectors
- No harassing phone calls
- No communication from shady companies or attorneys – collectors have to clearly say who they are!
- No phony settlement offers that can often get you on the hook for a legally-uncollectable debt
- Collectors have to cease communications if requested to do so
Failure to adhere strictly to the FDCPA’s requirements can give rise to the right of a consumer to collect damages for violations of the Act. As these cases can be fact-specific, it is recommended that you contact an attorney regarding your rights to respond to debt collection harassment.