The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Requires Non-Abusive Communications

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was put in place by Congress in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive practices.  The law covers both communications by debt collectors with debtors, as well as communications by debt collectors with third parties to debtors.  The first step in stopping abusive practices is educating yourself as to what constitutes an abusive debt collection practice.  The purpose of this article to provide such education.


If you have been the victim of debt collection abusive, reach out to an experienced New York debt defense attorney.  An experienced attorney will stop the abusive communications, prevent future abuse, work to negotiate a better debt settlement, and, if necessary, file a complaint against a debt collector for violations of the FDCPA.


An all too common abusive debt collection practice occurs directly between the debt collector and the consumer.  The consumer is the individual or entity that owes the debt.  The debt collector is the individual or entity that works to collect the debt owed.  Sometimes the debt collector buys the debt from the creditor – the individual or entity to which originally loaned the money.  Other times, the creditor employs a third party debt collection agency or service to collect the debt.


Specifically, the FDCPA sets out the rules by which a debt collector may communicate with a debtor.  First, at the outset of the first conversation with you, a debt collector must state that he or she is contacting you for the purpose of attempting to collect a debt, and that any information gathered from you will be used for that reason.   Failing to do so is a violation of the FDCPA.  After this initial communication, the debt collector must inform the debtor of both his or her name, and the name of the debt collection agency.  There are still more regulations after these formalities have been complied with.  For example, it is impermissible for a debt collector to contact a debtor at an unusual or inconvenient time or place.


Under the FDCPA, calls before 8am or after 9pm are deemed inconvenient.  The time zone for this determination, as common sense dictates, is the time zone in which you reside.  Additionally, if you are represented by an attorney with regard to the debt in question, the debt collector may not contact you directly.  Rather, the collector must contact the attorney.  Thirdly, a debt collector is prohibited from contacting you at work if your employer does not allow you to receive calls at work.  This last provision has become more complicated in the 19 years since the FDCPA was passed – a time in which calls are made to personal cell phones rather than land lines.


If a debt collector has violated any of these provisions of the FDCPA, you have been the victim of abusive debt collection practices.  Contact an experienced New York debt defense attorney to stop the abuse and hold the abusive collector responsible.