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What Is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

If you feel you are being harassed by debt collectors, you may be able to take legal action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. Signed into law in 1978, the FDCPA protects consumers from unfair collection practices and it lays out the rules and guidelines that those attempting to collect a debt must follow. Robert Stiberman, a debt relief lawyer in Florida, is breaking down exactly what the FDCPA is, what actions violate this law, and how you can take action to stop unfair practices.

What Is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that limits what a debt collector can say or do when attempting to collect a debt. This is the main federal law overseeing debt collection and covers collections related to:

  • Mortgages
  • Credit cards
  • Medical debt
  • Car loans
  • Small personal loans and “payday” loans

It’s important to note that the FDCPA does not protect consumers against business debts nor does it cover collection practices by the original creditor. For example, if the credit card company attempts to collect a debt, it may not be held to fair debt collection standards. When the debt is sent to an attorney, debt buyer, or collection agency, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does take effect.

FDCPA Summary of Restrictions

More specifically, the FDCPA placed restrictions on how debt collectors can communicate. This includes:

  • Time: They are prohibited from contacting you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
  • Place: Debt collectors may not contact your workplace if they know you’re not allowed to receive debt communications at work. They also can’t contact you at an unusual place, such as a friend’s house.
  • Harassment: Debt collection agencies and lawyers collecting debt can not harass you or other people either via phone, mail, or electronic communications.
  • Legal Representation: If a debt collector is aware that you are represented by a debt settlement lawyer, all communications must go through the lawyer instead of you. They have to be made aware of this, so if you are contacted by a collector, tell them the attorney representing you and that the collection agency can contact them and not you.

Examples of FDCPA Violations

  • Breaking a no-contact request in which you tell them in writing to stop contacting you. The debt collector may notify you that they can legally take action against you.
  • Lying or not telling you proper information in communications. They must enclose: the name of the creditor, how much is owed, that you can dispute the debt, and who the original creditor is.
  • Issuing threats, such as saying you can be arrested.
  • Harassing family members
  • Calling multiple times a day

How to Take Action Against Debt Collectors

Debt collectors often commit FDCPA violations because people are either not aware of their rights or don’t have representation to fight back. If you are being harassed, threatened, or are the victim of unfair debt collection practices, we recommend you consult with a debt relief lawyer who can stand up to collection agencies. They can send out no-contact notices on your behalf and walk you through what to say if contacted over the phone.

At the same time, it’s important to be aware that debt collection agencies still have legal recourse to collect a debt, including taking you to court and seeking a judgment against you and garnishing your wages. Your debt settlement lawyer can work with you to determine the best course of action for getting out from under debt, whether that’s consolidation, offering to settle for a lesser amount, setting up a payment plan, or even looking into bankruptcy.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Debt Settlement Lawyer in Florida

You shouldn’t have to tolerate harassment or threatening phone calls and letters. If you feel a creditor violates the FDCPA, reach out to a debt settlement lawyer in Florida at Stiberman Law. Our experienced team is by your side to help you get out of debt and move forward with security and confidence. To schedule a free consultation, give us a call at (954) 758-4324 or fill out the form below to learn more.

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