FDCPA: 8 Most Common Ways Debt Collectors Violate Federal Law

Debt collectors know better - yet they still break the law, and often. Here are 8 ways they may get themselves in trouble by harassing you.
Stephen Dunne, Esq.

Stephen Dunne, Esq.

Philadelphia bankruptcy, credit report, and debt collection abuse attorney

Debt collectors know better - yet they still break the law, and often. Here are 8 ways they may get themselves in trouble by harassing you.
Stephen Dunne, Esq.

Stephen Dunne, Esq.

Philadelphia bankruptcy, credit report, and debt collection abuse attorney

Today is the day.

It’s past time you had someone in your corner.
Our first consultation is always free.

1. Persistent attempts to try to collect a debt you don’t owe.

Are you repeatedly contacted about debts you paid off, discharged in bankruptcy, or never owed in the first place? If so, the debt collector is breaking the law as outlined under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The most common FDCPA violation involves a debt collector attempting to collect a debt that was discharged in a prior bankruptcy case.

2. Using abusive or threatening language

A debt collector may not use obscene or profane language when speaking to you on the phone. A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.

3. Failing to send written notice

If a collection agency contacts you about a debt, they are required to send you a written validation notice including the amount of the debt, the name of the original creditor, and a notice, explaining your right to file a dispute within 30 days

4. Threatening invalid lawsuits, wage garnishments, or property confiscation.

Collectors may threaten to sue you even though the debt is old and the statute of limitations has expired.  They might even threaten to garnish your wages, or to lay claim to your home or personal property. These scare tactics are illegal under the FDCPA.

 5. Making false statements about the amount of the debt or about who they are.

Collection agencies might even try to imply that they are a law firm, or collect an amount greater than what is actually owed. Any misrepresentation of the character, amount, or legal status of the debt owed is a violation of the FDCPA.

6. Sharing your personal information with the wrong people.

The agency informs a third party, such as your friends, neighbors, or employer, about the debt, without your express written permission to do so.

7. Calling excessively, and at the wrong times of day.

Debt collectors can’t contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.  They can call you once daily, but if they actually speak to you, they cannot call again for at least seven days.

  • Any calls within 7 days after they speak to you are a violation of the FDCPA.
  • A consumer can verbally request that a debt collector “stop calling.”
  • Any future calls to the consumer are a violation of the FDCPA.
  • Debt collectors also can’t contact you at work if you tell them you’re not allowed to get calls there.

8. Text Messages and Emails

A third-party debt collector is permitted to send you electronic messages including texts and emails. Each of these messages must include instructions for a consumer to opt out of receiving those types of messages. Messages must be sent at a reasonable time similar to the 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. limitation for phone calls.

  • Debt collectors can use newer technologies, such as email and text messages, to communicate with consumers without limit.
  • The FDCPA requires a debt collector to communicate a simple method by which the consumer can OPT OUT of further electronic communications at that email address or telephone number
  • Consumers should reply “STOP” to stop text messages to a particular telephone number
  • Consumers should “Click here to opt out of further emails to this email address.”
  • Debt collectors that refuse to honor a consumer’s OPT OUT request violate the FDCPA.

THEY can end up being the ones getting sued.

If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue them with the assistance of a debt collection abuse attorney, and they will be responsible for your legal fees. It’s free to chat with me about your options – you can call or text me at 215.551.7109, or drop me a line.

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