FDCPA – The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Prohibits Debt Collectors from Harassing You
Consumers’ rights are violated by debt collectors on a regular basis. Consumer protection laws were designed to prohibit debt collection harassment and abuse. Collection agents routinely violate the laws so that they can collect as much money as they can from consumers. Abusive debt collectors also count on the fact that most consumers do not know or understand the laws that are in place to protect them. Even if consumers knew about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, collection agents believe consumers lack the ability to take action and exercise their rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) (15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq.) prohibits debt collectors from engaging in a wide range of abusive and harassing conduct.
Common FDCPA violations:
- Calling the debtor an unreasonable number of times daily or after they have been instructed to stop calling.
- Contacting a debtor who is represented by an attorney.
- Falsely threatening a lawsuit.
- Falsely threatening to ruin a debtor’s credit.
- Failure to tell a debtor that the communication is from a debt collector and that any information obtained will be used to collect a debt.
- Failure to warn debtors on all subsequent communications that they are from a debt collector.
- Using profane, foul, or obscene language.
- Making racial, religious, or sexual slurs.
- Yelling or screaming at the debtor.
- Name calling.
What can I Do if I’m Being Harassed?
Individuals being harassed by debt collectors can recover $1,000 for statutory damages and potentially more for actual damages. However, you must have evidence of the collection abuse to allow an attorney to help you with any recovery.
- The first step is to gather and organize all the information you can about the debt, as well as the collection efforts of any past or current collectors who contacted you. Previous correspondence provides important information about the kinds of charges and interest that have been added to the debt.
- Second, obtain copies of your credit reports. These contain historic information about the debt, including the time it was incurred, when it was defaulted, and who may have collected it previously.
- Third, if you have compiled notes, voicemail’s, recorded conversations, threatening letters about the debt from the collector, these can be extremely valuable in reconstructing the collection efforts and defining any abuse.
- Finally, whenever you’re contacted by a debt collector, log the call by recording the date, time, person who called and content of the call, including any abusive or threatening language. Additionally, if you have any witnesses who can corroborate that you were abused, ask them for a brief statement about the incident.