Understanding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created by the FTC to protect consumers from the underhanded and often outright fraudulent collection methods used by debt collectors. If you are behind on your payments and you have accounts in collections, you have likely heard of the FDCPA. However, it’s important to look more into the FDCPA and understand the rights it gives you. Debt collectors count on consumers not knowing these rights and therefore, not exercising them.
Have you been the target of unfair debt collection practices? We’re here to help. Call Ron Aslam Law Office at 502-581-1676 to schedule a consultation now.
What is the FDCPA?
For a long time, debt collectors had the upper hand when it came to getting payments from consumers. They had a lot of leeway in what they could do to try to get payments from past-due accounts, even if that meant lying, harassing, or threatening consumers. The FDCPA is a federal law that ensures debt collectors do not use abusive, deceptive, or harassing tactics. If debt collectors run afoul of the FDCPA, they run the risk of being fined.
Information They Must Provide
There are several limits placed on debt collectors under the FDCPA. The first refers to the information that they must provide consumers when they contact them for payment. As a consumer, you have the right to ask how much you owe, which lender is attempting to collect the payment, and how the consumer can dispute the debt.
Who is Bound by the FDCPA?
It’s important to note that the FDCPA only applies to debt collectors. If the original lender has not sold your debt, they can continue to collect from you in a variety of ways. Since they are not debt collectors, they are not bound by the FDCPA. The FDCPA primarily applies to third party collection companies.
On top of this, there are exceptions to the FDCPA. Business debts are not included in this law. Additionally, this law does not completely prohibit companies from taking action against you. If you do not negotiate with them or have any contact with them, they can take you to court, get an order against you, and garnish your income or assets to collect what you owe.
How and When Debt Collectors Can Contact You
Debt collectors cannot harass consumers at all hours of the day or night to get them to pay up. They can only contact you between the hours of 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. Additionally, they cannot contact you more than seven times in seven days.
If you request that they not contact you at work, they are forbidden from doing so. If you ask them to stop contacting you completely, they must comply with that as well. Note however that this may result in a lawsuit against you as a last-ditch effort to collect your debt.
In 2022, there will be new restrictions placed on communication methods used by debt collectors. As a borrower, you can decide if you would prefer to communicate with debt companies over the phone, via email, via text messages, or via written correspondence.
What the FDCPA Prohibits
The primary purpose of the FDCPA is to prohibit companies from using abusive or harassing tactics to bully borrowers into paying. This covers a wide range of behaviors, including the use of obscene language, pretending to be an attorney, threatening a borrower with arrest or violence, threatening to ruin a borrower’s reputation, lying about the amount of the debt, calling repeatedly, cashing a postdated check before the date it is postdated for, or threatening a lawsuit if the company has no intention of actually filing one.
What happens if a company violates the FDCPA? The borrower can file a complaint with the FTC. This may result in collecting compensation from the debt collector, including up to $1,000 in damages and your attorney fees. If you believe your rights have been violated and you decide to go this route, it is recommended that you consult an attorney.
Protect Your Rights with Ron Aslam Law Office
Debt collectors know that most consumers aren’t aware of their rights, so they have no issue violating those rights. With the help of an attorney, you can hold debt collection companies accountable for their FDCPA violations. Set up a consultation with Ron Aslam Law Office now by calling us at 502-581-1676 or getting in touch with our team online.