If you’ve ever been in debt, you might be familiar with debt collectors contacting you in order to get payments on the debt. While debt collectors may seem as though they are being unfair in their practices, there are several ways a debt collector can truly be considered to use unfair debt collection practices. The following is a quick look at different types of unfair practices, as recognized by law.
The Fair Debt and Collections Act
The controlling law in debt collection is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. Under Section 808 of the FDCPA, debtors are prohibited from using certain debt collection practices, including
-Threats of Arrest
While most of the other prohibited collection practices are fairly clear, the term “unfair practices” may seem imprecise, but it’s not. Even though harassment or false statements may seem like unfair practices, the FDCPA treats them as separate practices. Unfair practices refer to any debt collection practices made to either deceive or threaten the debtor. These practices can range from collecting more than what is due to threatening to take non-judicial action.
Collecting in Excess of the Debt
It only makes sense that creditors should collect what they are owed. Unfortunately, there are occasions where a creditor might collect money in excess of the amount owed on the debt. Interestingly enough, there are some situations where a collector is allowed to collect in excess of the debt under state law.
Sometimes, a debtor might not have the money at the time it is due, and might issue a check that is dated at a later time. The FDCPA also has regulations concerning post-dated checks, stating that prematurely depositing or threatening to deposit post-dated checks would be an unfair debt collection practice.
Charging Communications via Deception
Another example of unfair debt collection practices focuses less on the actual debt, and more on creating costs for the client. Under the FDCPA, charging debtors for communications via deceptive practices is just another example of unfair debt collection practices. Examples of such charges include collect telephone calls and telegram fees. While the use of these forms of communication is not prohibited, the deceptive use of such methods that force the debtor to pay for the charges is prohibited.
Taking or Threatening Non-Judicial Action
Much like the other forms of unfair debt collection practices, this form of unfair practice focuses on deception. The FDCPA prohibits creditors from taking or threatening to take non-judicial action absent any legal right to do so. An example of non-judicial action that a creditor might have a legal right to take is repossession of a vehicle or other property.
Markings on the Outside of Envelopes
Another unfair practice listed in the law is the use of anything other than the debt collector’s address on any envelope when communicating with a consumer via mail. This includes using any language or symbol in place of the creditor’s current address. That said, a creditor is allowed to use a business name, as long as that name does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.
What You Can Do
If you, or someone you love, are a victim of unfair debt collection practices, then you need an experienced attorney that will help you navigate the legal system in order to protect your rights. Contact the Bromberg Law Office, P.C. today to make an appointment with a dedicated, experienced attorney.