How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a consumer protection amendment and federal law, establishing legal protection from abusive debt collection practices. Abusive practices include using explicit language, threats, violence, and misleading communication. It is important that you know your rights and use them to shield against the debt collectors who may be illegally harassing you.
Under Section 806, the act states, “a debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of debt…” Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you are protected and cannot be harassed or threatened by the collectors to obtain the debt. This includes restrictions of explicit language, violence, making debt public, collectors failing to identify themselves, and repeated calls causing annoyance and harassment.
Must Be Truthful
In Section 807, the act states “a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt…” The collectors must be truthful in all circumstances. This means they cannot pretend to be another company, authority figure, or lawyer. They cannot lie about the amount of the debt owed nor make up nonexistent legal repercussions. If you believe you are being scammed by deceptive representation, you have a right to ask questions and reach out to local legal counsel.
Must Be Fair
The act also protects you against debt collectors’ unfair practices. Section 808 states, “a debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.” Under this section, you are protected from having to pay more than you owe on a debt. You can also rest assured that the collectors may not deposit nor threaten to deposit a postdated check before your intended payment date.
Must Provide Proof
Section 809 furthers your rights to protection by declaring the debt collector must be able to prove you actually owe the debt they are trying to collect. They must send you a written notice including the amount of the debt owed, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, statement assuming the debt is valid unless you dispute it within the first 30 days, a statement that if you dispute the debt, the collector must verify the debt by mail, and a statement declaring you may contact the original creditor within the first 30 days to seek more information. These five statements are required on a verification letter, giving you as much information as possible to empower yourself and know whether it is a valid debt or not.
The FDCPA ensures the protection of consumers under the law against the illegal practices of debt collectors. It restricts how a debt collector may contact you, and under what circumstances the collectors may contact the debtor. Nonetheless, if a collector violates the FDCPA, the debtor may sue them within one year of violation.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA when collecting a debt from you, you may be entitled to up to $1,000 plus costs and your legal fees. Dye Culik PC represents consumers in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and federal court against debt collectors in cases under the FDCPA, as well as defending consumers in debt-collection lawsuits. If you have been contacted by a debt collector, contact us to see if we can help.