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What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

This federal law is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which protects consumers from deceptive, unfair, and abusive debt collection practices. This law only applies to a third-party debt collector, not the original creditor.

How can I help you deal with debt collectors according to the FDCPA laws?

Once you contact us:

  • You will work with my assistant, who will take down the details of all your debt collectors.
  • I will review your file and contact collection agencies. I will inform all of them that they cannot harass you anymore.
  • Once they know I am representing you, most of the collection agencies will stop harassing you and settle debts at very favorable terms.
  • I will have you work with my assistant to make payments to debt collectors.
  • You will be debt-free in three to four months.

How can I help you avoid abusive debt collection practices?

I have helped people like you:

  • File a lawsuit against a debt collector who doesn't comply with the FDCPA laws.
  • Fight for justice and help you get a financial award of up to $1000 per violation.
  • Receive financial compensation for any damages suffered and any attorney fees you incur in the process.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. It came into effect in March 1978 with 3 objectives:

  • Safeguard debtors from unfair debt collection practices.
  • Safeguard law-abiding debt collectors from unfair competition.
  • Encourage states to introduce consumer protection laws.

The FDCPA generally applies to consumers and third-party debt collectors. It covers personal debt such as credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, and payday loans. The FDCPA does not cover business and other commercial debts.

What does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibit debt collectors from doing?

  • Acting as if they are affiliated with the state or federal government.
  • Giving false information about the legal status of the account or any financial compensation that the collector is likely to receive.
  • Misrepresenting the agent as a licensed attorney or law enforcement officer.
  • Publishing lists of debtors who don't agree to make payments.
  • Threatening debtors with arrest for unpaid debts.
  • Using deceptive means to get information about a debtor.
  • Falsely implying that a debtor's property will be sold.
  • Telling debtors they have committed a criminal offense.
  • Sending fake legal documents to the debtor.
  • Contacting consumers using a postcard.
  • Soliciting a postdated check to initiate criminal prosecution.

What are the 6 most common FDCPA violations?

  • Misleading representation of the actual debt amount and demanding more than you owe.
  • They use obscene, abusive, or profane language while collecting the debt.
  • They call a debtor before 8:00 am, after 9:00 pm, and on Sundays. They make collection calls at work even after being asked to stop.
  • They threaten to sue, cease property, garnish wages, get you fired, or harm your credit score when they don't have the means or intent to do so.
  • They disclose your debt to a third party, such as a family member, friend, or neighbor, without your consent.
  • They don't disclose that the call is from a debt collection business.
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What are your rights under the FDCPA?

As a consumer, the FDCPA grants you rights that protect you from illegal debt collection practices. Read below to know your rights:

Right to information: When a debt collector contacts you for the first time, they must inform you of your right to dispute the debt. The collector must tell you the actual debt amount and the creditor's name; if you do not dispute the debt in 30 days, it will be considered valid. In addition, the collector must send the consumer the debt details in a written notice within five days of the initial telephone contact.

Debt verification: If you have doubts about the debt's validity, you can ask the debt collection agency for written verification within five days. However, you must request it within 30 days of the initial contact with the collector. When you do this, all collection attempts must stop until the debt is verified.

Cease communication letter: If a collector is calling at your place of work or harassing your friends or neighbors, a cease communication letter can be an effective way to stop the harassment. Once you send the letter, a collector may only inform you about specific legal steps they intend to take.

Privacy: The FDCPA protects the privacy of debtors by prohibiting collection agencies from informing anyone other than authorized individuals, such as the debtor's attorney or spouse, about the debt. They are not even permitted to leave details on answering machines.

Protection from harassment: Under the FDCPA, you have the right to protect yourself from any violent or criminal initiative undertaken by collection agencies. The FDCPA further bans profane, obscene, or offensive language.

Payments: If you have multiple accounts, the collection agency has to apply for payments according to your instructions. Plus, they can't apply payments to disputed debts.

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What is the purpose of the new FDCPA law?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) updated the FDCPA rules in October 2020. These new rules state that debt collection agency can text, email, or contact you on social media platforms like Facebook. They can send you unlimited texts to collect debts. However, they must offer you a way to opt out of such communication. Debt collectors can only call you seven times a week.

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Is this new FDCPA law good or bad?

Debt collectors can contact consumers through email and social media platforms, which was impossible before. They are getting one more option to contact or harass consumers. In that sense, the new FDCPA law is good for debt collectors.

The bad news is that most consumers have multiple debts, so they may get more than seven calls per week since debt collectors can call seven times for each account.

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How can debt collectors manipulate the new FDCPA law?

An aggressive debt collector's messaging practices can increase the cost of consumers' cell phone bills who do not have an unlimited text message plan.

The law says that consumers must be able to opt out of these communications. Now, there is doubt surrounding how many debt collectors will follow this rule. They may ask consumers to make payments without explaining their rights or providing a means to opt out of burdensome communications.

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What can consumers do to avoid text messages from collection agencies?

Consumers have three options:

  • They can ask debt collectors to validate the debt in writing.
  • They can ask collection agencies to contact them through some other way.
  • They can ask debt collection agencies to stop contacting them altogether with a cease and desist letter.
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How can you know if third-party debt collectors are legit?

Here are seven ways to find out.

  1. Shift the conversation - The caller will ask questions about whether it is a real debt or a scam. Don't answer them. Instead, reply with questions of your own. A legitimate debt collector will answer your questions, provided they're relevant to the alleged debt.
  2. Receive confirmation - Legally, a debt collector has five days from the first phone call to send you a written confirmation of the debts owed.
  3. Verify the collection agency - Reach out to your state attorney general's office or Department of Consumer Affairs to determine if the agency is licensed. Check with the BBB to find out if there have been complaints about the firm. If the agent claims to be associated with an attorney's office, check with the state bar or state office of court administration.
  4. Make sure the debt is yours - Since your unpaid debts stay on your report for 7 years, you can pull up your credit report to see if the debt is listed there.
  5. Check your state's statute of limitations (SOL) - If the debt is past the statute of limitations for debt collection in your state, the collector can't force you to pay it.
  6. Ask to verify the debt - After receiving a written document claiming you owe the debt, you have 30 days to request the collection agency to verify it. Until the collection agency verifies the debt, they must stop all collection attempts.
  7. Make sure the proof is legit - The response you receive from the collection agency could be of any form. It could be a copy of the original credit agreement, a copy of the charge-off statement, or an invoice from the original creditor. It could also simply be information about the debt—the original creditor's name, the account number, the charge-off amount, and the current balance. However, to strengthen their claim, the collection agency should show you the last four digits of your SSN.
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What do you need to file an FDCPA complaint against a debt collection agency?

Financial experts and attorneys say that to register a complaint against a debt collector in violation of the FDCPA, you must meet the following four legal requirements:

You must be a consumer.

  • You have consumer debt.
  • Debt collectors must have contacted you for payments.
  • Debt collectors must have violated the FDCPA or similar state statutes, such as California's Rosenthal statute.
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What is the deadline for filing a lawsuit?

You have to file a lawsuit within a year.

A recent ruling by the Supreme Court says that the one-year deadline for filing an FDCPA lawsuit starts from when the violation occurred, not when it was discovered.

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What should a proper collection letter have?

As soon as you get a debt collection letter, reply to it.

A proper collection letter should provide you with the essential information related to your debt. It should include the original creditor's name, how much you owe, the means to make the repayments, and how to dispute any discrepancy.

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Where can you file a lawsuit against an abusive debt collector?

You can sue a harassing debt collector in a state or federal court. If you can prove that debt collectors have engaged in unfair practices, you are eligible to collect $1000 in statutory damages per violation.

You can file a lawsuit without an attorney in the small claims court. If you don't want to hire an attorney, you can bring your case to small claims court. You just need to file a simple court document to file the lawsuit. The process will usually take less than two months to complete. It's a faster, less complicated process, but the downside is that there are limits on how much compensation you can seek in small claims court.

You can file a report with your state's attorney general. A harassed consumer can contact their state's attorney general to report the violation. Some states enforce the FDCPA, or similar laws passed by their state, to protect consumers. So, if the state attorney general gets a violation report against a debt collector multiple times, they might file a suit against the debt collector on behalf of the state.

You can report the matter to the CFPB. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), also works as a problem solver. If a consumer files a complaint against an original creditor or a collector, this agency tries to solve the problem. You can submit your complaint here.

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Are debt collectors allowed to call on Sundays or holidays?

On Sunday, debt collectors may call you between 1 pm and 5 pm. The good news is that the FDCPA prohibits collection agencies from calling you on Sunday at all if you specifically instruct them not to. Likewise, if you tell them not to call you on certain holidays, they must comply. In some states, collection calls during official holidays are strictly prohibited.

If collections agencies call you outside the allowed hours, they violate the FDCPA.

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What can you do if collection agencies call you on a Sunday or a holiday?

Ask the debt collection agency to call you during the week if you genuinely owe a debt.

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Can you ask a debt collector to validate your debt based on your credit report alone?

Unfortunately, the FDCPA doesn't give you any protection regarding this matter.

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Does FDCPA allow the garnishment of federal benefits?

The FDCPA doesn't allow the garnishment of federal benefits. However, debt collectors can garnish your federal benefits if you owe alimony, child support, federal tax, or student loans.

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Does FDCPA allow debt collectors to garnish your wages?

The FDCPA doesn't allow debt collectors to garnish wages directly. The debt collectors must first win a judgment against the debtor to garnish any wages.

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I've been working with Oak View for approximately three to four months now. Steve Lewis has so far exceeded my expectations with his negotiation skills. So I just wanted to thank both Steve and Oakview for their support and a job well done.See More ...

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