While debt is a part of many people’s lives, it should not be a source of undue stress or harassment. The illicit and unethical practices of some debt collectors across the United States are well-documented and have received significant media attention in recent years.
Fortunately, with the passing of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, serious steps are being taken to clamp down on how collectors try to retrieve debt. If you are in debt and feel as though you are being harassed or unfairly targeted by debt collectors, it is likely that the Fair Collections Act applies to you.
Read on to learn all about how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects your rights.
Who and What Does the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Apply To?
First off, it should be noted that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act definition does not cover personal or business debts. The Act applies to student loan, credit card, household, medical, and auto loan debts.
The Act also only prohibits the actions of third-party agencies or collectors contacting you on behalf of another individual or entity. The FDCPA does not apply to individuals or businesses contacting you directly to settle a balance.
What Does It Ban Collectors From Doing?
The FDCPA is specific in what behaviors debt collectors cannot engage in. They cannot call you or contact you at all outside of reasonable hours (8am-9pm).
They are not permitted to contact third parties, such as family members, more than once, and cannot reveal any of your information regarding the debt.
They may contact your workplace, but if you request in writing that they stop, then they must comply immediately. Collectors are also forbidden from using harassment tactics.
These tactics include threats, offensive language, or excessive calling. Fair debt collectors should never engage in these practices in the first place.
They cannot lie about how much you owe, nor can they falsely claim to be a legal entity or send fabricated legal documents to you. They cannot threaten arrest or punishment of any kind.
What Can They Still Do?
Debt collectors are still permitted to contact you within reason to discuss the debt and possible repayment options. As mentioned, they may contact friends and family, but only once.
What Can You Do?
You have the right to request any kind of contact be ceased. All you must do is send a written request via mail. You can also question whether the debt or amount is accurate.
If you do so, the collector is obliged to provide evidence within 30 days of the request.
Most importantly, you have the right to sue for damages if they are in breach of the Fair Collections Act. You can be rewarded up to $500,000 in damages if you are being harassed by debt collectors.
To learn more about your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or to receive legal advice on freeing yourself from debt, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today for expert legal advice.
The Effective Legal Debt Solutions team is comprised of caring, seasoned professionals with years of industry knowledge coupled with personal real-life experience of dealing with debt settlement situations that many of our clients are facing today.