Your Rights Against Unfair Debt Collection Practices

One of the best strategies that debt collection agencies employ is intimidation. They frighten people into agreeing with them even if the said person has questions about their debts.

Once people get frightened and intimidated, they become powerless in the face of these debt collectors.
Debt collection agencies are actually third-party private companies that are hired by larger companies to collect debt.

Normally, the debt collection agencies are commissioned on a fixed fee or a percentage of the collected debt.

Sometimes, the debt collection agency buys the debt from these larger companies, so that the person’s debt will be transferred to them.

This just makes them more aggressive in collecting debts from people as they want a quick return of investment. To collect debts, some debt collection agencies even resort to unfair practices to pressure people into paying.

However, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices (FDCPA), there are guidelines in which third-party debt collectors have to conduct themselves.

This is to eliminate abusive practices, promote fair debt collection and give people an avenue for disputing and validating debt information to ensure accuracy.

Under FDCPA, all debt collectors are required to:

  • Identify themselves and provide notification to the consumer in every communication. It should also be clear that the communication is from a debt collector and that any information obtained will be used to collect debt.
  • The debt collector should also specify the name and address of the original creditor.
  • The debt collector should notify the customer of their rights to dispute the debt, partial or full.
  • In case the consumer disputes the debt, the debt collector must provide the consumer the requested verification information or cease collection efforts altogether.
  • If the debt collector plans to file a lawsuit, he/she should file it on the state or county where the consumer lives or signed the contract.

The FDCPA also classifies certain actions as abusive and deceptive, and are prohibited from being practiced.
Some of those actions are:

  • Contacting the consumer outside 8:00am to 9:00am local time.
  • Failing to cease communication upon request of the consumer.
  • Ringing the phone or engaging a person in conversation repeatedly with the purpose of annoying, abusing or harassing that said person.
  • Communicating with the consumer at her place of employment even after being prohibited by the employer.
  • Using misrepresentation to collect debt. An example would be pretending to be a lawyer or a police officer.
  • Publishing the name of a consumer on a “bad debt” list.
  • Collecting unjustified amounts that are not permitted in any of the applicable contracts.
  • Using abusive and profane languages.
  • Revealing debt information to parties outside the consumer.
  • Reporting false information on the consumer’ credit report or threatening to do so in the process of collection.

If you are being harassed, by debt collection agencies, you should be aware that you can take actions against that collection agency.

Consumers may file a private lawsuit on the third-party debt collection agency and collect damages.
Contact a business attorney who had handled such cases to help you with your options.

This Article is provided as a free informative service to Fakih Law’s clients and friends.  The Article is for general information only and should not be used as a basis for specific action without obtaining further legal advice.


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