The federal law protecting debtors, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), places many restrictions on the actions of debt collection agencies. The law’s restrictions generally do not apply to original creditors.
Without this and various state laws regulating the practices of debt collectors, they might have no second thoughts about resorting to extreme measures for the purpose of collecting debt. Unfortunately, some less-reputable agencies do stoop to levels beneath what the FDCPA mandates. The following are some ways that collectors may violate consumer law:
- Making threats. While threats of physical violence are the most drastic form of this violation, shady collection agencies may threaten to disclose your debts (and the amount) to your neighbors, employer, or other third parties. They might even threaten to publish your name on their website to identify you as a debtor. Another threat they may make is to arrest you when they do not have the legal authority.
- Calling you at odd hours. Unless you have otherwise authorized collectors to be able to contact you outside of normal operating hours, agencies are confined to calling you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. In addition, you may communicate your wishes not to be contacted about your debts by collection agencies. This does not absolve you of your debt obligations, however.
- Lying or being evasive about who they are. When debt collection agencies reach out on the phone, they must identify themselves as calling you for the purpose of collecting debts. Far too often, though, they will try to intimidate debtors by claiming to be a law enforcement official or an attorney. Some of the shadier agencies might send you a letter that is intended to look like formal legal correspondence.
- Contacting third parties. Debt collectors may talk to your parents (if you are a minor) or your spouse. Other than that, they may speak to your attorney (and only your attorney if they are aware of your representation) and you only about your debt. One exception is that collection agencies may contact other people to ascertain your whereabouts, but there are several limitations to how they may go about doing that.
Have Your Rights As a Debtor Been Violated?
Battling against debt collection agencies can make for a stressful period of your life, but you thankfully have protections afforded to you. If you are the victim of an illegal debt collection practice, you may be able to use that as leverage when settling the debt or file a claim that could net you money. To discuss your options, call Ciment Law Firm, a trusted debt relief attorney, today at (833) 779-9993 to start a free consultation.