The Federal Trade Commission has set out rules that define fair debt collection practices. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act defines specific things that a debt collector may not do when contacting you about a debt. Learn the rules that debt collectors must follow when they call you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was added to the Consumer Credit Protection Act in 1978 as Title VIII. It defines the rights of consumers when dealing with debt collectors, and prohibits debt collection practices that are abusive and harassing. If you are dealing with a debt collector that violates the FDCPA, you are entitled to make a formal complaint against them and make the harassment stop.
Who must follow the rules of the FDCPA?
A debt collector is a person or company who uses the mail or other interstate communications or commerce entities for the primary purpose of collecting debts owed to another person. The federal laws do not apply to internal debt collectors who are attempting to collect a debt that originated with them. In other words, the FDCPA applies to companies that collect debts for other companies. However, some states have similar rules for companies that collect their own debts.
The FDCPA lays out things that debt collectors must do when they are attempting to collect a debt, as well as things that they are not allowed to do.
What debt collectors MUST DO
– Tell you that they are attempting to collect a debt and that any information that they learn will be used to collect that debt
– Give you the name and address of the original creditor when you make a written request for it
– Notify you of your right to dispute all or part of the debt with the debt collector
What debt collectors CAN NOT DO
– Contact you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM your time
– Contact you at all after being asked to stop in writing, except to tell you that they have ceased collection activities or that they intend to pursue other remedies
– Contact you at work after you tell them not to
– Contact you after you tell them that you are represented by an attorney
– Contact you after you request validation of debt
– Misrepresent themselves or lie about who they are to intimidate or deceive you
– Publish your name or address on a “Bad Debt”list
– Threaten you with arrest or legal action that is either not allowed, or which they do not intend to do
– Use physical threats or threats of violence toward you
– Use abusive or profane language toward you
– Repeatedly use the telephone to harass you
– Discuss your debts with any other person other than your spouse or attorney
– Threaten to make a false report to any credit reporting agency