The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed by Congress in part “to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors…and to promote consistent State action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.” (§ 802. Congressional findings and declarations of purpose [15 USC 1692]). The general types of debt collection practices that are prohibited by this law include harassment, abuse, misrepresentation and deception.
Your personal, family and household debts are coved under the FDCPA. This includes money owed for the purchase of a home, an automobile for general transportation, medical care, and non-business charge accounts. Business debts are not covered, even if you are personally liable.
A debt collector is anyone, other than the creditor, who regularly collects debts for others. This includes (1) collection agencies, (2) attorneys who regularly collect debts or foreclose mortgages, (3) companies that regularly acquire debts after they are allegedly in default (there are many companies which buy bad credit card debts, delinquent mortgages, etc.).
A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone or telegram. However, it cannot be at inconvenient times or places. It must be between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM local time. A debt collector may not contact you at work if it should know that your employer does not permit it. A debt collector also may not contact you if you are represented by an attorney and the collector knows it.
You can stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop contacting you. Once the collector receives your letter, it may not contact you again except to state that there will be no further contact to inform you if the collector or creditor intends to take some specific action.
If you send such a letter be sure to do the following: (1) keep a copy, (2) send it by means that generates a receipt (e.g. Certified Mail, fax, Federal Express), and (3) keep the receipt.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE? PLEASE CONTACT US.
If you believe you are being mistreated by a debt collector, I invite you to call me to discuss the situation. In future posts we will discuss what information must be provided to you by a debt collector, specific debt collection practices that are prohibited by law, and what to do if a debt collector violates the law.