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What Exactly is “Unfair” Conduct under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The  Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits, among other things, “unfair” conduct. But what does “unfair” mean? Actually, the FDPCA sets out a list of specific conduct that is considered unfair, and which is illegal.


The prohibited conduct is as follows, rephrased in some instances for clarity.

1) Collecting any money, interest, or fees, unless the amounts are authorized by law or by the agreement. For instance, charging attorneys’ fees unless the credit card agreement expressly allows the debt collector to charge attorney fees.

2) Accepting checks post-dated by more than five days, unless the debt collector provides advance notification of its intent to deposit the check.

3) Asking for post-dated checks, if the collector’s purpose is to use the check to threaten criminal prosecution.

4) Depositing post-dated checks before the date on the check.

5) Causing phone or other charges by making collect calls.

6) Threatening to repossess property if there is no right to do so, no intention to do so, or if the property is exempt under other laws.

7) Communicating by postcard.

8) Using words or symbols other than the debt collector’s name and address on collection letters.

These items are described at 15 U.S.C. § 1602f.

The FDCPA also recognizes that there can be other unfair practices not listed here. Because of this, any other action by a debt collector that is unfair can also be a violation of the FDCPA.

If you believe your right to be protected against unfair debt collection has been violated, our office can provide a no-cost case evaluation.

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Culik Law is a Massachusetts Law Firm. The posts on Culik Law’s blog are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, CONTACT CULIK LAW for a Free Consultation.

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