The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (RFDCPA) is the California state fair debt collection act, adopted in 1977 to deal with unfair debt collection practices in the state. The RFDCPA is largely based on the federal (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act FDCPA
). California debt collector harassment is thus governed by both the federal and the state Acts.
California debt collection has taken an ugly turn which is evident in the increasing number of California debt collector harassment cases registered at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
. One of the violations in California debt collector harassment is not sending valid notices when they call you in an attempt to collect debts.
Although there are exceptions, under the RFDCPA a creditor generally need not inform you about referring your account to a debt collection agency. Yet according to RFDCPA, a debt collector is required to send you notification, in his first contact with you regarding an unpaid bill or within five days of his initial contact. This notification must include the amount you owe, the name of the original creditor, and information regarding your rights about disputing the bill. Whether a California debt collector contacts you by a telephone or in writing, the five-day notification period stands. Many California debt collection agencies post this information on their initial notice itself.
Additionally, it is mandatory under the RFDCPA for debt collectors to include in each and every notice the following information:
Name of the creditor
Name and contact details of the collection agency
Mailing date of the notice
Total amount due
Under the RFDCPA, debt collectors may legally contact your employer to find about your employment, location, or even your medical insurance details. The collector may not, however, disclose to your employer that he wants this information because he is seeking to collect a debt. A collector may also contact your employer to garnish your wages if court has given a judgment to that effect.
A California debt collection agency
can contact you at your work place unless it knows that your employer does not approve of the contact. Under the RFDCPA, you can stop collection calls at your workplace if you do not wish not to be contacted there. You should send a notice to the debt collectors requesting that they not to contact you at work and if they must, then it should be through a written notice marked Personal and Confidential. Debt collectors are also required to cease all telephonic contact whatsoever when requested to do so. You may also request, by sending a written request by certified mail with return receipt request, that a collector stop all contact in every form. After such a request, the collector may only contact you once more to explain their next course of action.
Naturally, debt collectors do not always abide by these rules. If you are still being harassed by collection attempts after you requested that they stop, an experienced attorney can help you to stop the collector and obtain compensation for the harassment.