What Is FDCPA?
Have you ever gotten a call from a debt collector? If so, you’re not alone. In 2016, the average number of daily calls made by debt collectors was 2.4, with some callers making up to as many as 15 calls a day.
Thankfully, there’s federal legislation in place to protect against these pesky phone calls: the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was first created in 1978. The FDCPA protects debtors from illegal and unfair debt collection practices, most notably with a list of rules and regulations that debt collectors must adhere to.
How FDCPA Protects People
The FDCPA dictates when debtors can receive debt collection calls and prohibits against unwelcome behaviors like:
– Calling between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
– Continuous calls to harass the debtor
– Providing incorrect or misleading information
– Using threatening, abusive, or profane language
However, it may surprise you to learn that the FDCPA also protects reputable debt collection agencies. The FDCPA restricts these agencies from using dishonest collection practices and holds them accountable for their actions. Some of these rules prevent actions like:
– Threatening to repossess property without the right or intention to do so
– Depositing post-dated payments and checks before they are marked for collection
– Collecting any debt amount other than what is specified
Debt collection agencies can legally reach debtors both at home and at work. However, if a debtor asks a debt collector or collection agency to stop contacting them at work, then they are legally required to stop.
What’s more, a debt collector must send the debtor a written “validation notice” within five days of initially contacting them. This notice includes the creditor’s name, the amount the debtor owes them, and what to do if the debtor does not believe they owe this amount.
Debtors can also request debt collectors to stop contacting them at home. However, they must send this request in written form to the debt collector. It’s best to send this request by certified mail so that you can track it and make sure it ends up in the right hands.
Debt collectors can also contact family members and other third parties concerning the debtor’s debt. However, they can only reveal that they are trying to contact the debtor, and cannot disclose any information about the debt itself or that they’re calling from a debt collection agency. Furthermore, debt collectors can only contact these third parties one time each.
Fortunately, many debt collectors are willing to work out a payment plan or settlement with debtors to alleviate the financial burden.
If you’ve recently discovered you have a sizable debt on your plate, there’s no need to panic. Here at Maxwell Dunn, PLC, our debt and bankruptcy lawyers put themselves in our clients’ shoes to get a better understanding of the financial, professional, and emotional consequences they’re going through. If you believe you’re the victim of an unfair debt collection practice, contact us today at 248-246-1166.