You don’t have to take abuse from your creditors.
Fair Debt Collections Act
OVERVIEW OF FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is Federal legislation enacted to stop many of the harassing practices that those collections industry practice. The legislation established guidelines for acceptable debt collector conduct.
WHO IS COVERED BY THE ACT?
The act regulates debt collectors, defined as third parties who are regularly engaged in the collection of debt. Therefore, it does not apply to debt collectors collecting on their own behalf such as retail stores that have their own credit cards and in house collections staff.
- Making contact with the consumer at times or places which should be known to the debt collector to be inconvenient unless agreed to by the consumer or as authorized by a court. Convenient times are understood to be between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
- Specifically, this part of the act protects clients of bankruptcy lawyers: Contacting a debtor directly who is known to the debt collector to be represented by an attorney. Unless the lawyer fails to respond within a reasonable period of time.
- Making contact with a debtor at his place of employment if the debt collector knows or should know that such communication is prohibited by the debtor’s employer.
- Contacting third parties with respect to the debtors debt other than to confirm the consumers whereabouts (without disclosing the purpose as collections) unless the debtor consents or as authorized by a court.
- Specifically, this part of the act protects clients of bankruptcy lawyers, bankruptcy lawyer Christopher German will provide you with letters to mail to your creditors: Continuing to contact a debtor after a request to cease any further communications other than to confirm its intention to comply with the request or inform the consumer that it will be invoking certain remedies.
- Threatening the debtor with violence.
- Using obscene or abusive language toward the debtor.
- Making repeated phone calls to the debtor in order to harass or intimidate
- Publishing a list of allegedly delinquent debtors to parties other than consumer reporting agencies in an effort to humiliate or embarrass
- Misrepresenting the communication from a non-attorney debt collector as coming from an attorney
- Implying that the debt collector intends to imprison the debtor or seize, garnish or attach property by way of legal process when he is unable to do so. A very common example is the debt collector that implies that he/she intends to garnish wages or place a lien against the debtor’s home when they have yet to obtain a judgment against the debtor.
- Failing to disclose to a debtor that he is being contacted by a debt collector and that any information obtained will be used to collect on that debt
- Communicating with a debtor regarding a debt using a post card
Debt collectors tend to purchase a large volume of debt at once with very little screening and it is not at all unusual for debt collectors to attempt the collection of debts that either have been paid, are uncollectible because the statute of limitations has expired or were never lawfully owed.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act addresses this issue by requiring debt collectors to properly validate debts in the following manner:
- Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer a debt collector must send the consumer a written notice containing.
- The amount of the debt
- The name of the creditor
- A statement that the debt will be assumed valid if the consumer does not dispute all or some portion of the debt in writing within 30 days
- A statement that if the consumer provides written notice to the consumer within 30 days, the debt collector shall obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment and mail it to the consumer
- A statement that, upon the consumers written request within the 30 day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor
If the consumer notifies the debt collector that he disputes all or a portion of the debt or requests information concerning the name and address of the creditor, the debt collector must discontinue collection efforts until the requested information has been mailed to the consumer.