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Overview of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act - FDCPA

Adam J Krohn / Posted: 2013-03-20 12:00 am

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) is a comprehensive federal set of federal laws meant to combat and prevent the abuse practices by debt collectors that they employ on debtors. The FDCPA helps to level the playing field and ensure fair debt collection methods are followed. Essentially, the FDCPA creates guidelines and ground rules for debt collectors to conduct his or her business and how to collect on debtors. A debt collector must follow these rules and, if he or she does not, there are penalties for violations of the FDCPA.

The FDCPA itself is quite extensive and has many separate sections. The application is broad but the sections can be very specific. Below is a list of the most applicable sections that every person should know. Here are Krohn and Moss, our hope is that you save this article or print it out and provide it to family and friends. For a full listing of the law, please visit here.

Under Section 807(2)(a) of 15 U.S.C. 1692e, a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation in “the character, amount, or legal status of any debt.” This means that the debt collector is prohibited from lying about how much money you owe or that your loan will default soon when it really will not.

Under Section 808(1) of 15 U.S.C. 1692f, a debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt such as using a collection method that is not “expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.” Essentially, this means that a debt collector cannot use illegal means to collect a debt from another or in ways not authorized by the agreement. Thus, if the debt collector attempts to make you pay fees, interests, or other expenses that you never agreed to, that would also be violative of this Section.

Under Section 805(a)(1) of 15 U.S.C. 1692c, a debt collector, who does not have consent of the debtor, may not call “at any unusual time or place or a time or place known or which should be known to be inconvenient to the consumer . . . a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock antemeridian and before 9 o’clock postmeridian, local time at the consumer’s location.” Meaning, a debt collector is prohibited from making any phone calls before 8 AM and after 9 PM or, in the alternative, during any time that the debtor relays in an inconvenient time. Thus, if you or a loved one tells a debt collector to not call during dinnertime from 7 PM and 9 PM, and the debt collector does call during that time, there is a violation of the FDCPA.

Under Section 806(1) of 15 U.S.C. 1692d, a debt collector will have violated the FDCPA if there is “[t]he use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.” This should be an obvious violation to any reader and, if such threat is made to you or a loved one, it may be appropriate to contact the authorities immediately because you may have a claim for menacing or assault, depending on your state’s criminal laws. Additionally, you may have a civil claim for assault is such threat establishes such an imminent threat of a battery.

Under Section 806(2) of 15 U.S.C. 1692d, a debtor collector must remain respectful and may not attempt to collect the debt with “[t]he use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.” This should be another obvious violation of the FDCPA for the reader to recognize.

Under Section 806(5) of 15 U.S.C. 1692d, a debt collector may not engage in any conduct which the natural consequence is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with a debt which includes “[c]ausing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.” Meaning, if a debt collector is calling you multiple times a day or constantly all week, basically waging a war of attrition on you, this will be a violation of the FDCPA.

Most importantly, under Section 807(5) of 15 USC 1692e, a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representations such as “[t]he threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken.” Basically, this means that the debt collector cannot tell you that he or she will be suing you tomorrow in the U.S. Supreme Court if you fail to pay your debt, as this is impossible to do because the U.S. Supreme Court is an appeals court, except for very rare exceptions.

If you believe that you, a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance has otherwise been subjected to a debt collector who has violated these laws, please contact us today and speak with one of our qualified FDCPA attorneys. We have been successfully representing those abused and taken advantage of by debt collectors for years, and have a long list of successful stories to share with you. We offer a FREE CASE REVIEW for you to assess whether we can assist you with your matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us toll free at 1-800-875-3666 if you prefer to talk to a trained professional over the phone instead, or of course, visit our website at

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