Illegal Debt Collection Tactics You Should Know About

When the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act was passed by the Congress in 1977, it spelled the end of abusive, inappropriate and often questionable collection practices applied by both creditors and debt collection companies. The FDCPA also gave debtors a chance to keep their dignity intact as they deal with outstanding balances. The rules under FDCPA include strict guidelines on how and when debt collectors can request payments. These guidelines include:

  • Debt collectors can no longer call debtors repeatedly. They are also prohibited from contacting debtors for the duration of the debt validation period when the debtor demands evidence of the debt’s ownership
  • Debt collection agencies can no longer call debtors before 8AM and beyond 9PM in the debtors’ respective time zones
  • Debt collectors are strictly prohibited from threatening debtors with arrest warrants, jail time, wage garnishment, property lines and taking over their bank account. They are also barred from threatening with filing of credit card lawsuit with no plans of following throughs
  • Collectors are strictly prohibited from discussing the debtor’s debt from third parties in a bid to embarrass the debtor from paying. They can no longer use any types of methods like flyers and published attempts to spread news of the debt
  • Collectors can no longer contact a debtor without information and they must stop all collection calls and letters when they receive a Cease and Desist letter.

Other than harassment FDCPA also has strict guidelines for consumer interaction between debtors and collection companies:

  • Collectors must provide identification, intent and all pertinent information when collecting debts
  • Each call they make or notice they sent must include a reminder of the consumer’s rights, particularly the right to validate and dispute the debt in question
  • The collector must provide information regarding the original debt including the company name of the original creditor.

Those who are found to have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act may be sued by debtors, provided that they present proof of violation. Debtors can go after abusive collection companies in Federal court. Abusive collection companies may also be reported and sanctioned by the Federal Trade Commission.

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