The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal act establishing laws to stop abusive, deceptive, unfair, and unethical debt collection business practices by creditors and debt collectors against consumers. The FDCPA also adds rights which consumers have to protect themselves against aggressive debt collectors and sets limitations on what a debt collector can and cannot do to collect a debt—even a valid debt.
Many states have also enacted legislation similar to the FDCPA, further protecting consumers’ rights. Under these debt collection laws, if you have been the victim of abusive or unfair practices by a debt collector, you may be entitled to money damages and full payment of your attorneys’ fees.
Debt collection harassment can take many forms.These forms of harassment are violations of the FDCPA, and include some of the following examples:
- Calling you before 8 AM or after 9 PM;
- Calling you an unreasonable number of times;
- Using profane or abusive language;
- Threatening to take legal action against you when legal action is not available to them;
- Mischaracterizing the debt, including the amount and status of the debt;
- Accusing you of committing a crime;
- Disclosing your debt information to third parties, such as family, friends, or coworkers who pick up the phone; and
- Refusing to tell you their name or affiliated company.
The FDCPA grants protections and some options to take, including:
- Having the debt reduced;
- Receiving up to $1,000 in damages;
- Having your credit report cleared and corrected;
- Having the debt eliminated; and
- Having your attorneys’ fees paid for by the collection agency.
If you or anyone you know has been subjected to an abusive, deceptive, or unfair debt collection effort by any business or firm, contact the Krohn & Moss, Ltd. Consumer Law Center for a FREE evaluation to learn how you can protect your rights and get your attorneys’ fees paid.