While you might owe money to a creditor, or a debt collection agency, there are things they do not have the right to do while attempting to collect on the debt.
Debt collectors are not allowed to:
- Lie to you;
- Harass you;
- Misrepresent the debt to you or to the credit bureaus;
- Contact your friends, co-workers, or relatives;
- Threaten you with sham lawsuits.
Despite the rules, I still see it happen all the time. You’re already struggling to pay your bills, and now you have someone on the phone with you, your employer, or your neighbors, trying to shame you into sending them money you can’t afford.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is on your side.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created and passed into federal law to protect you from abusive collection practices.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are forbidden from making empty threats, like a lawsuit, and they cannot tell your friends, family, or employer about your debt. The law also gives you the right to restrict their calls to certain times of day, so they can’t be calling you ridiculously early, late, or at your job.
Debt collectors are required by law to
- Identify themselves during every call;
- Notify you that any information gained during the call will be used to collect the debt;
- Provide verification that the debt is valid;
- Provide the contact information for the original creditor, if the debt has been sold;
- File lawsuits in the proper venue.
Consumer Protection Program
The Dunne Law Offices invokes your consumer rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by faxing/mailing a letter of representation to your debt collectors and demanding that they immediately stop the harassment.
This service is FREE to all clients, whether or not you decide to file bankruptcy with our office. You deserve to live in peace and return from work each evening without being repeatedly called by debt collectors while you’re eating dinner with your family.
Our firm stops all harassing phone calls on the spot, and any debt collector that refuses to comply must pay our clients $1,000.00 in consumer damages under the FDCPA.
Would you like us to do that for you free of charge?
Simply complete this form and return it to our office, and we’ll ensure your consumer rights are protected.
Ignoring written request to cease communication
The FDCPA protects consumers from harassment. Once a consumer attorney sends a written request to debt collectors to stop contacting the debtor – they must comply or face a $1,000 penalty for violating the FDCPA.
Calling… and Calling… and Calling
A debt collector is presumed to have violated the FDCPA’s prohibition on repeated telephone calls if the debt collector places a telephone call to a consumer more than 7 times within a 7 day period.
Lying about what is owed
Unscrupulous debt collectors often attempt to collect debts paid off a long time ago or demand fees or charges that were not part of the original agreement between the consumer and the creditor.
Contacting third parties
Debt collectors are not allowed to contact third parties to discuss a debt or even mention that a debt is owed. All too often, debt collectors engage in “block parties” where they contact the consumer’s friends, family, and co-workers, telling them they need to reach the consumer to repay a debt – using shame, guilt, and embarrassment as tools of psychological warfare to collect a debt.
Using profanity or abusive language
Obscene language, threats to sue, law enforcement threats, name-calling, aggressive language, threatening harmful behavior, and otherwise harassing behavior are prohibited by the FDCPA.
Refuse to validate
A debtor must be allowed to validate the debt that they are being called on. Once a collections agency notifies the individual that they owe a debt, the individual has 30 days to validate or dispute the debt. The collections company is not allowed to continue collections procedures until after the debt is validated or disputed.
If a collector violates the FDCPA, you can sue them, and they will be responsible for paying all legal fees. While their abusive practices might be easy to spot, it can be hard to stop them on your own during such a stressful time in your life.
An experienced debt collection abuse attorney can help stop them and punish them.
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.