The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from abusive debt collection practices. The scope of the act covers communications between debt collector and debtor, communications between debt collectors and third parties, harassment, false or misleading representations, and an array of unfair practices. The disgraceful history of such abuse by debt collectors contributed to countless personal bankruptcies, job losses, and marital instability, thereby harming the U.S. economy. Sick and tired of these practices and their adverse effects on the economy, Congress enacted the FDCPA in 1977 to better regulate the debt collection industry, and expand the rights and remedies available to consumers. The purpose of this article is to explain the kinds of harassment and abuse that are prohibited by the FDCPA.
If you have been the victim of abusive debt collection practices, contact an experienced New York debt collection defense attorney. An experienced attorney will put a stop to the abuse, prevent future abuse, work to negotiate a more favorable settlement plan, and, if necessary, file a legal claim against the abusive debt collector and his or agency.
The FDCPA regulates how and when debt collectors may communicate with a consumer. In the initial communication, the debt collector must inform the consumer that the communication is for the purpose of collecting a debt, and that any information gathered from the debtor will be used for that purpose (and not something else). Additionally, in this communication and all subsequent communications, the collector must inform the consumer of both his or her name, and the name of debt collection agency. When engaging in communications with a consumer, a debt collector may not do so at an inconvenient time. This includes communications before 8am, and after 9pm. Furthermore, if a consumer is represented by an attorney in the matter of the debt, a debt collector must contact the attorney rather than the debtor. The FDCPA’s regulations do not stop there.
In a proper communication with proper formalities at a convenient time, the debt collector must not engage in harassment, oppression, or abuse. Specifically, a debt collector is prohibited from threatening to use violence to collect a debt. This includes threats of violence against a consumer, as well as a consumer’s loved one. It does not matter if a threat of violence is directed at the consumer’s property rather than his or her physical being; all threats of violence are prohibited. Obscene, profane, or abusive language is prohibited by the FDCPA as well. A debt collector cannot swear at a consumer. To do so is to engage in abuse. It is also impermissible to publish your name in a paper or online as a person who doesn’t pay debts. In addition, a debt collector is prohibited from calling a consumer repeatedly. This is harassment.
If you can have been the victim of any of these illegal practices, contact an experienced New York debt defense attorney. A skilled attorney will put a stop to the abuse, and fight to protect your rights under the FDCPA.