As part of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors are required to adhere to a comprehensive set of regulations that govern communications between them and consumers. Consumers may file a complaint against them if their actions violate any of its provisions and may receive compensation as a result.
You should immediately report a violation of the FDCPA to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This will enable the FTC to investigate the case and send a request to the debt collector to cease their illegal activities. Your report will help protect other consumers as well.
Keep An Eye Out For These Common FDCPA Violations
At any stage of the debt collection process, it is necessary for you to be aware of this list of FDCPA violations that you may encounter when communicating with a debt collector.
It is a violation of the FDCPA if a debt collector:
- Calls you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Calls you at work when your employer prohibits such communication
- Informs your family and friends that you owe them money
- Contacts you despite your explicit request that they do not do so
- Engages in conduct that is considered harassment or abuse under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- In order to coerce you into making payment, they claim they will sell your debt
- Makes your phone ring repeatedly with the intention of annoying others
- Fails to disclose that they are debt collectors
- Falsely represent themselves as someone else
- Threatens to seize your home or other property
- A threat to bring legal action that they are not able to or do not intend to bring
Below, we will break down each of these FDCPA violations in detail.
A Debt Collector Cannot Contact You Before 8 A.M. Or After 9 P.M.
In accordance with 15 U.S.C. 805 (a)(1), debt collectors may not contact you at unreasonably late hours. The law specifies that debt collectors may assume that you are available for contact after 8 a.m. or before 9 p.m. within your time zone.
A complaint can be filed if your debt collector begins calling you at 7:30 a.m. or 10 p.m. An exception applies if you are traveling outside your ordinary time zone.
A Debt Collector Cannot Call You At Work If Your Employer Does Not Allow It
It is expected that you spend your time at work performing your job, rather than resolving personal matters. Nevertheless, some creditors will attempt to contact you at your workplace if they learn where you work.
A debt collector is prohibited from contacting you at work if you notify them that your employer does not wish to receive such calls. You should refer to 15 U.S.C. 805 (a)(3) when making a complaint.
A Debt Collector Cannot Disclose Your Debt With Your Friends And Family
Under 15 U.S.C. § 805 (b), debt collectors cannot tell other individuals that you owe a debt, including your spouse, best friend, or child. In addition to your attorney (if you have one) or credit reporting agency, they may also communicate the facts of your debt to their attorneys.
Therefore, if your teenager reports that ABC Bank called and claimed you owed them money, you have the right to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
A Debt Collector Cannot Continue To Contact You If You Ask Them Not To
In accordance with the provisions of 15 U.S.C. 805 (c), you may ask a debt collector not to contact you and cease sending you letters.
If the debt collector intends to take further action against you, such as filing a legal complaint, he or she must comply with your request.
A Debt Collector Cannot Pursue Payment Using Harassment Or Abuse Tactics
Under 15 U.S.C. 806, debt collectors cannot engage in abusive or harassing behavior against consumers.
- Threatening to harm you, your reputation, or your property with violence or other criminal means
- Communicating with you in an obscene or foul manner
- Publication of a list of your outstanding debts
- Advertise the sale of your debt in order to obtain payment
- Harassing you or other people at your location repeatedly throughout the day
- Incorrectly identifying themselves when they call you
The actions described above are all considered violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which must be reported.
Consider the following example.
The following example illustrates how Free for All Finance harasses Jane until she pays up her $500 credit card debt. Jane stopped making payments when she lost her job, so Free for All Finance decided to harass her. Due to Free for All Finance’s crazy business practices, its collectors are instructed to call Jane daily and shout obscenities at her. As a result of the third call from Free for All Finance, Jane files a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. After conducting an investigation, the FTC fines Free for All Finance $1,000 for each time it called Jane.
A Debt Collector Cannot Threaten You With Selling Your Debt
15 U.S.C. 806(4) states that debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to sell your debt to another debt collection agency or organization in an attempt to pressure you into paying it off.
A Debt Collector Cannot Repeatedly Call You To Annoy You
In accordance with 15 U.S.C. 806(5), harassment occurs when a debt collector repeatedly calls your telephone number, even if you answer, with the intention of causing you distress or abuse. In addition, robocalls, which are typically prerecorded voicemails sent by debt collection agencies, are prohibited.
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A Debt Collector Must Disclose Their Identity
You must be informed that a debt collector is contacting you, whether it be in writing, by telephone, through social media, via email, or in person, for the purpose of collecting a debt whenever a debt collector contacts you. The law is clearly stated in 15 U.S.C. § 806(6).
A Debt Collector Cannot Make False Claims About Their Identity
A collector must be meticulous when communicating with you about a debt. They cannot pretend to be someone else, such as a law enforcement officer, or be affiliated with any government agency.
In the event that you receive a letter from a debt collector that appears to resemble a legal process, please be extremely cautious. Under 15 U.S.C. 807, creditors are required to identify themselves and cannot act under the pretense of being legally authorized to do so.
A Debt Collector Cannot Threaten To Seize Your House
If your house or other property does not secure your debt, creditors cannot threaten to seize it. Doing so violates 15 U.S.C. § 808(6).
You should be careful if a debt collector threatens to take your property if you do not pay your bill. Inform the collector that they do not have the right to say that to you, and then file a complaint with the appropriate authorities.
Congress originally passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977, but it has since undergone several amendments in order to provide even greater protections for consumers.
When you receive a call from a debt collector, you may feel anxious. You do not want your collector to report you to the credit reporting bureaus or to file a lawsuit against you. Pay close attention to the way the collector communicates with you. Protect your rights and file a complaint with the FTC if their actions violate the FDCPA.