If you are one of the millions of Americans who have never had to deal with a debt collector, count yourself lucky. As a Troy, Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney, I often discuss the importance of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) with clients and how it applies to bankruptcy. The FDCPA is a federal law created to protect consumers from deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. The methods employed before the law passed in 1977 were appalling.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act sets a legal framework for the practices of debt collectors and sets both administrative and civil penalties for violations. It also defines a debt collector as a person or company in the business of collecting a debt. This does not include an original creditor’s internal collectors.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may not:
- Contact you at home before 8 in the morning or 9 at night,
- Continue communication after you give written notice to stop,
- Repeatedly call or make your phone ring with the intent to annoy or harass,
- Call you at work if they know calls are prohibited,
- Contact you directly if they know you have an attorney,
- Continue to communicate if you request a verification of the debt and they have yet to provide it,
- Make false or misleading statements,
- Publish your personal information and publicly list you as having bad debt,
- Attempt to collect an unjust amount prohibited by law,
- Threaten to have you arrested or take legal action not permitted,
- Use abusive or foul language,
- Threaten any form of violence,
- Communicate the debt to 3rd parties,
- Contact you by postcard or any media with the intent to embarrass, and
- Report false and inaccurate information to the credit bureaus.
Moreover, many who decided to file bankruptcy do it because of abusive debt collectors. If the attempts to collect a debt violate the FDCPA, the consumer may sue the creditor for actual and statutory damages. The Bankruptcy Code can protection your from the effects of the debt, and the FDCPA allows you to fight back against abusive practices.
If you would like to talk more about the Fair Credit Collection Practices Act, or need more information, please contact us.