Ohio state debt collection laws

The Ohio Debt collection laws follows the principles outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The federal and the state laws join hands to protect the consumers from the unfair debt collection practices and consequent harassments.

Protection under the law

The FDCPA along with the Ohio state laws make sure that the consumers are protected from the abusive debt collection activities. The FDCPA however covers the debt collectors working for the collection agencies. It doesn’t have control over the collectors employed by original creditors.

Prohibited acts

The debt collectors are forbidden to do the following actions:

  • Misrepresent the owed amount, and ask you to pay more
  • Impose additional interest or fees that are not included in the original credit or loan agreement
  • Call repeatedly, even if you ask not to
  • Not reveal the identity or the purpose of the call to the debtor while making collection attempts
  • Use abusive, obscene or profane language while asking you to pay your outstanding dues
  • Call before or after the permissible time limit, which is between 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, or even at inconvenient hours, if specified
  • Threaten you with violence and physical harm to make you pay
  • Intimidate you by saying that they will take actions like wage garnishment, property seizure, or cause property loss etc. if they actually don’t intend to do it
  • Illegally inform a third party about your debt to humiliate you into paying
  • Contact a third party more than once to obtain your location information, unless they have reason to believe that the information provided initially had been false
  • Establish contact at work, if employer doesn’t approve
  • Ignore your request for debt validation or verification, and continue to collect on the debt without providing the necessary information
  • Continue collection attempts even after receiving a cease communication letter
  • Communicate with the debtor in a misleading manner, i.e. by stating themselves to be a government representative or legal authority, or to present forms that seem to be legal, though they’re not
  • Use a post card with details of the debt for communication during the collection procedure

What can be done if collectors violate the laws?

If you find that the collectors are not abiding by the debt collection laws, you can:

  1. Ask them to cease all kinds of communication with you using a cease and desist letter.
  2. Document the violation as soon as possible. Record all the details, along with proof and witnesses.
  3. File an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with necessary information about the collector and the offense. Find out the Ohio state agency, which regulates collection agency behavior. Send a copy of the complaint to the concerned authority at the state level.
  4. Sue the debt collector in a small claims court by yourself, or hire an attorney to represent you in regular court.

Penalties

Individuals or corporations found to be engaged in unfair debt collection activities will be held liable for violation of the Ohio Debt Collection Act, FTC guidelines and FDCPA. Accordingly, the harassed debtor will be entitled to recover:

  • Any amount of actual financial loss that you had suffered in the process
  • An additional amount of up to $1,000 for FDCPA violation

For further grievances against the third party debt collectors, you can even contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection cell and lodge a complaint.


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