When you are already under stress from debt obligations, harassing calls by debt collectors only make the situation worse. If you are being hassled, it is important to know what your rights and remedies are.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that prohibits "any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt" or the "use [of] any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt."
If a debt collection entity violates this law, you can seek a remedy against it in either a state or federal civil court. If you win the case, the debt collector can be required to pay you damages for proven suffering due to its illegal practices.
Even though the FDCPA exists, in the first quarter of 2012, there were numerous complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against entities that gave made-up names of supposed government agencies or law firms. Therefore, it is important to be especially vigilant with regard to these unscrupulous and unlawful dealers.
Debt Collection agencies are required to abide by prescribed legal parameters when contacting you. Generally, if you have not filed for bankruptcy, debt collectors cannot do the following:
- Fail to notify you via a letter that you have a right to dispute the debt
- Swear at you or threaten you
- Make contact with your employer, children or neighbors
- Give false information to credit reporting agencies
- Threaten to have you evicted from your home
- Try to interfere with your employment or garnish your wages
- Assert that you will be imprisoned if you do not comply with their demands
- Fail to identify themselves as debt collectors
- Continue to contact you either after you claim you are the victim of identity theft or after you have hired a lawyer and told them to deal directly with that attorney
Further, typically, if you have filed for bankruptcy, creditors are not allowed to contact you at all.
We hope you find the foregoing useful and that you choose to schedule a consultation today. Contact Info We have four offices: DAYTON (at the 75 South / 725 Interchange);WEST CHESTER (on Route 747 near the Union Center exit on Route 75); and Cincinnati (HYDE PARK and EASTGATE). We would be glad to meet with you at a convenient time, including evenings and weekends.
Source: Forbes.com, "Two Shades of Debt Collection."