Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

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Collection Laws & Debt Collector Regulations

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) establishes regulations for third-party debt collectors, outlining the legal methods for conducting their business.

As a consumer dealing with debt collectors, you are safeguarded by the FDCPA, which ensures your right to fair collection practices.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates consumer debt collection by controlling the communications debt collectors may have with you and establishing penalties for any infringements of your rights during the collection process.

As skilled attorneys at law, we use the protections afforded to you by this act to stop all harassing calls to your home and place of business. This affords you the respect and privacy you deserve.

Here is a summary of actions that collection agencies are prohibited from taking. It is highly advisable to consult with a consumer rights protection attorney at 877-700-5790 if you have encountered any of the following situations:

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from doing the following:

• Misrepresenting the amount that you owe: the debt collector is prohibited from asking you to pay any extra interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law or stipulated as part of your debt agreement. The collector can’t add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn’t allow simply because they feel like it.

• Calling you repeatedly or continuously: The FDCPA considers repeat calls or calls in the excess of 7 times a day as harassment.

• Using obscene, profane, or abusive language while over the phone with you: A debt collector cannot insult, demean, abuse, or threaten you during an attempt to collect a debt. Doing so will be a violation of your FDCPA rights and may entitle you to compensation.

• Calling before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm: 8:00 am is generally considered to be the start of the business day. If a debt collector is calling you extremely early (before the business day starts) or extremely late (after the day ends), you may have a valid case of debt collector harassment.

• Calling at times that are inconvenient: If, for example, you are unable to receive calls at work, you should let the debt collector know. If they still call you during those times regardless of the information you have provided, you may have a right to sue for harassment.

• Threatening to use violence, the courts, or the police: Collectors can’t threaten violence against you. They are also prohibited from threatening you with legal action they do not intend to take or with arrest and jail time. Report them immediately by calling 877-700-5790.

• Threatening you with an action they cannot or will not take: Collectors can’t threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take your property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when they cannot or do not intend to take action. Doing so is a violation of your FDCPA rights.

• Illegally informing a third party about your alleged debt: Unless you have given permission, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about the existence or status of your debt except:

• The original creditor
• Your Attorney
• The creditor’s attorney
• A credit reporting agency
• Your spouse
• Your co-signor
• Your parent(s) (if you are 17 or younger)

• Repeatedly calling a third party to get your location information: The collector can only contact a third party once unless they have reason to believe the information previously provided is false. They are also not allowed to disclose the existence or status of your debt to a third party.

• Failing to send a written debt validation notice: Within five days from the day you received the collector’s initial call, they are required to send you a written notice or validation that the debt is yours. This notice should include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor to whom the original bill is owed, and a notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.

• Ignoring your written request to verify the debt: A collector can’t proceed with collection efforts after you have sent a written request to dispute or verify the debt if the request was made within 30 days of the collector’s written notice.

• Continuing collection attempts before providing debt verification: After receiving your written dispute or request for further verification, all collection efforts must cease until you have received written verification as requested.

• Continuing collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice: If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication (legally known as a cease-and-desist letter), they can only contact you one more time via mail to let you know one of the following:

i. That they have received your request and further efforts to collect the debt are terminated (note that this does not mean that you no longer owe the debt.)
ii. That certain actions may be taken by the collector.
iii. That the collector is definitely going to take certain actions.

Your Right to Dispute the Debt
The debt collector is obligated to inform you about your right to dispute the debt (failing to do so is a violation of your FDCPA rights) in the debt validation letter that they send to you five days after their initial contact.

Once you receive this letter, you can dispute the debt by sending a letter back to the collection agency asking for further verification of the debt and details confirming that the debt is indeed yours. The debt collector is required to respond and cease all communication with you during the period within which the debt is being verified.

Please note that you are required to dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving a debt validation letter.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Demand Letter
If you have been made aware of your debt and don’t wish to receive more calls from the collection agency in charge of collections, you can choose to opt out of communication by sending what is known as a cease-and-desist or demand letter.

A cease-and-desist letter will stop all forms of communication from the debt collector, however, you are still obligated to pay the debt. A debt collector is not allowed to ignore a request to cease and desist, and if they do, then they are in violation of the FDCPA, and you may take legal action against them.

If you would like to learn more about cease-and-desist letters, we encourage you to take a look at our blogs or to call 877-700-5790 if you would like our assistance to send a cease-and-desist letter.

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Attorney
When a company violates the FDCPA we offer free assistance to help you stop the calls and regain your freedom. We can also get you damages up to $1000.00 for the harassment. Simply tell us the problem by filling out the form on this page and clicking “submit.”

Common FAQs
Which consumer credit law prohibits abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices by debt collectors?

There are several laws that law prohibit abusive, deceptive, and unfair practices by debt collectors. The FDCPA, FCRA, and TCPA, are examples.

What is the FDCPA statute of limitations?

You have one year from the time the offense was committed (not when the offense was discovered) to report it and file a complaint to avoid exceeding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act statute of limitations.

What is the FDCPA definition?

The FDCPA is an acronym for Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Who is a third-party debt collector?

Creditors attempting to collect debts are generally considered to be debt-collection agencies, and debt-collection agencies are third-party collectors. The original creditor to whom the debt is owed is the first party, you (the consumer) are the second party, and the debt collection agency that is hired to retrieve the debt is the third party.

What time can bill collectors call?

Generally, bill collectors can call you between the hours of 8:00 am – 9:00 pm. They are also prohibited from calling you excessively during those hours.

What time can bill collectors start calling?

The FDCPA allows bill collectors to start calling at 8:00 am.

Does the FDCPA cover business debt collections?

No. Unfortunately, only debts of a personal nature are covered by the FDCPA.

Are there different debt collection laws by state?

All states are required to follow federal FDCPA guidelines, nevertheless, some states offer additional protection to consumers harassed by debt collectors.
In the state of Massachusetts, for example, debt collectors are prohibited from calling you more than twice (at your home or place of work respectively) within a seven-day period over a particular debt. This means that debt collectors cannot contact you more than four times within a given week (both at home or at work) the discuss a particular debt.