The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the primary federal regulation for protecting consumers from illegal practices by debt collections agencies. This covers a wide range of debts from credit cards to medical debts to mortgages.
Here are some of the ways the FDCPA protects you from iniquitous debt collectors.
Abuse and Harassment by Collectors
Collection calls are never pleasant. Dealing with a collections company is one of the least enjoyable experiences for consumers working through debt issues. But it’s an unfortunate reality for the tens of millions of people with debt in collections.
While the mere presence of collections debt can feel like abuse, it’s worse when you have to endure being harassed by representatives from the collections agency. This is why protections are in place to shield consumers. A collections agency can’t call you if you submit a formal, written statement saying you don’t want to be phoned. Furthermore, those who are able can get an attorney to represent them, which means the collections agency will contact the attorney instead of you.
Many people have also experienced threats from collections agents, ranging in scope from violence to legal attacks. This is illegal, and should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.
It can be hard to tell what’s really going on when you’re dealing with an account in collections. However, under no circumstances are collectors entitled to lie to a consumer.
Here are a few of the ways a debt collectors might misrepresent the truth:
- Saying the individual owes more than the actual amount
- Stating false outcomes for not paying, such as legal actions
- Saying they are, or work for, someone else
- Lying about the statute of limitations on the debt
Unvalidated Collections Debts
Debt collections agencies are required to send a letter that states that you do in fact owe a debt upon your request. You can also ask for additional information such as the amount owed, the lending organization’s name, and other verifying factors.
There are plenty of reasons you could end up with debt collectors calling you for a debt that isn’t actually yours. Among them, instances of fraud are rampant in the debt collection world. It’s possible someone else used your identity to take on a debt. There’s also a chance the person claiming to be a debt collector is trying to commit fraud against you.
People who are struggling with debt in collections can consider the benefits of debt consolidation with bad credit. When you consolidate your debt, you essentially bundle all your unsecured loans together, which you repay. Organizations such as Freedom Debt Relief could be an effective way to help you get rid of your debts and move on with your life.
You have the right to tell a collections agency they can no longer communicate with you. This will end those annoying and stressful collections calls that can keep you up at night.
It’s important to note, however, this doesn’t block a collections agency from taking legal actions against you, which can be delivered in writing. If it is indeed a legitimate debt held by the agency, they can still try to get that money through the legal system.
In other words, the debt doesn’t go away when the calls stop.
Privacy violations are a big no-no in the world of debt collections. An agent might try to contact people close to you in order to obtain your personal information. That’s considered a massive intrusion when the collector discloses anything about your debt to that third party.
Simply put, you retain your right to privacy.
It can sometimes feel like you’re powerless when you’re up against your debts in collections. However, you are entitled to the proper respect and the FDCPA protects you by giving you a tool to govern the behaviors of debt collectors.