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How the FDCPA helps keep debt collectors in check - II

Previously, we started discussing how the unimaginably stressful scenario of being unable to pay bills can rapidly worsen once a person starts receiving unwanted, unrelenting and overtly hostile communications from debt collectors via the mail, the phone or even the computer.

We also discussed how who those find themselves in these situations are protected by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, and expressly prohibits debt collectors from engaging in abusive, deceptive or otherwise unfair practices.

Abusive practices

The FDCPA's ban on abusive practices means debt collectors cannot resort to harassing, oppressive or offensive tactics when contacting you or a third party.

Accordingly, they may not do any of the following:

  • Resort to profanity
  • Make repeated phone calls for the sole purpose of irritation or intimidation
  • Threaten harm or violence
  • Publish a list naming people who are past due on their bills

Deceptive practices

The FDCPA's ban on deceptive practices means debt collectors cannot resort to fraudulent or deceitful measures.

Accordingly, they may not do any of the following:

  • Falsely represent themselves as government workers, credit reporting company employees or attorneys
  • Falsely claim that you are guilty of committing a crime
  • Falsely represent the legal status of paperwork
  • Falsely represent the amount owed
  • Falsely threaten arrest, collection actions or legal action

Unfair practices

The FDCPA's ban on unfair practices means debt collectors cannot resort to inequitable or unreasonable measures.

Accordingly, they may not do any of the following:

  • Deposit post-dated checks prematurely
  • Communicate with you via postcard
  • Attempt to collect fees, interest or charges authorized by neither the contract giving rise to the original debt nor state law

We will continue to examine the FDCPA in future posts.

Please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for stopping creditor harassment once and for all. 

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