Has a creditor or collection agency told you something that is abusive or anyway, a violation of your civil and federal rights? The FDCPA can appear to help you fight back against all unfair collection practices.
What is the FDCPA?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (commonly known as the FDCPA) is Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It simply aims to stop abusive collection practices by third party debt collection agencies.
Whom does the FDCPA cover?
The FDCPA laws cover the consumer, a person who legally owes a consumer debt; debt collectors, who try to collect debt on behalf of others; and any debt that has been accrued chiefly for personal, family or household purposes. However, business and other commercial debts are not covered under the FDCPA.
What are the 7 most common FDCPA violations?
Often, collection agencies play many tricks and go to any extent possible in order to collect from you, and thus violate the FDCPA. Below are some of the most common prohibited practices that debt collectors carry out.
- Misrepresentation of the actual debt amount (often demanded more than what you actually owe).
- Use of obscene, abusive or profane language while collecting debt.
- Excessive phone calls or reaching out to a debtor before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm and even on Sundays. Calls at workplace even after being asked to stop calling at work.
- Calling someone else other than the actual debtor in order to collect the debt.
- Threaten to sue, cease property, garnish wages, initiate job loss, or spoil credit score when the collectors don’t aim to do so.
- Informing a third party entity (family member, friend, or neighbor) about your debt without your permission or contacting a third party even after knowing the debtor's contact information.
- Not disclosing that the call was from a collection agency (known as no ID) or the name of the collection agency (Known as Foti violation).
What are your rights under the FDCPA?
As a consumer, you have some rights under the FDCPA laws to protect yourself from illegal debt collection practices. Read below to be familiar with what rights you have:
- Right to information: While contacting for the very first time, a debt collector must inform you of your right to dispute the debt. The collector must tell you the actual debt amount, name of the creditor, and the fact that if the debt is not disputed within 30 days, it’ll be considered as valid. Apart from these, the collector must send the consumer details of the debt in writing within five days of the initial telephone contact.
- Debt verification: If you have any doubt regarding the debt, you can request the debt collection agency a written verification of the debt. However, you have to request within 30 days of the initial contact from the collector, and all collection attempts must stop until the debt is verified.
- Cease communication letter: If a collector is calling relentlessly, calling at your place of employment, or harassing your friends or neighbors, a cease communication letter can be effective to stop all harassing phone calls. After this, the collector can only reach out to inform you about certain legal steps that he intends to take.
- Privacy: The FDCPA protects the privacy of the debtors by prohibiting the collection agencies from informing anyone other than the authorized individuals (debtor’s attorney or the spouse) about the debt. Even the collection agencies should not leave any detail over answering machine as chances of eavesdropping increase.
- Protection from harassment: Under the FDCPA, you have the rights to protect yourself from any kind of violent or criminal initiatives undertaken by the collection agencies. The FDCPA further bans usage of profane, obscene or offensive language.
Where should you report violations of the FDCPA?
You have the right to take action in case you have fallen victim of creditor harassment. You can choose any of the following options to file a complaint against a debt collection agency:
- You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- You can file a complaint with the office of the state’s attorney general.
- You can file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- File a civil suit in your state or federal court for up to $1,000 including damages
How FDCPA attorneys of OVLG can help?
You have the right to sue a collection agency if they violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) while collecting from you. However, in order to do this, you need potential and experienced legal guidance. Our attorneys specializing in FDCPA laws can assist you to do that. Over the years, we have achieved enough success and reputation by helping thousands of people put an end to harassing calls, threats and other violent activities.
Our specialized FDCPA attorneys can file lawsuit on your behalf and if you win, you may be compensated for the damages you suffered. Moreover, we can also help you recover court costs and attorney fees.