Fair Debt Collection Practices, Part 1

In this post, we will discuss some of the rights the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) gives consumers and certain actions debt collectors can not take when collecting a debt. In 1977, Congress enacted the FDCPA to protect consumer from abusive debt collection practice. The FDCPA gives consumer a number of protections, including:

  • Restrictions on who a debt collector may contact for information on the debtor.
  • Restrictions on contacting the debtor at work.
  • Restrictions on contacting the debtor if the debtor is represented by an attorney.
  • The debt collector can not contact the consumer at unusual times or locations .

The FDCPA also prohibits a debt collector from:

  • The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
  • The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
  • The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts (with certain exceptions)
  • The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
  • Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
  • The placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity (with certain exceptions).

In the next post, we will discuss what constitutes harassment or abuse by a debt collector as well as the prohibitions on false or misleading statements by debt collectors. In the meantime, be aware of scams involving debt collection attempts, as reported in the related article.


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