What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a set of guidelines laid out to protect you from overly pushy debt collectors. This federal law provides you protection and legal actions that you can take if the collector violates any rules of the FDCPA.
There are some states that have their own set of guidelines that apply to how a debt collector may contact you and collect any debt. The debt collection lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers are familiar with all state and federal laws, and we can advise you of your legal rights.
What are the ways that a debt collector can contact me?
A debt collector may contact you in the following ways:
- In person
There are rules that debt collectors must follow in regards to contacting you. These rules include that the collector may not contact you:
- At work if your employer disapproves
- Before eight o’clock in the morning or after nine o’clock in the evening
- At unreasonable times or places
What actions are considered harassment or abuse by a debt collector?
The FDCPA protects you from debt collectors who may use harassment or abuse to collect your debt. There are several guidelines that collectors must abide by. Some of these guidelines include the collector may not:
- Threaten you with the use of violence or other criminal means
- Threaten you or your property
- Use abusive or profane language to speak to you
- Publish a list containing names of customer who refuse to pay their debt
- Call so frequently that it is considered harassment
- Refuse to disclose their identity
If you have been a victim of debt collection abuse, you have rights. The lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers can help make sure your rights are protected.
Are there any ways for me to stop a debt collector from contacting me?
If you would like a debt collector to stop contacting you, you can call the collector or write a letter to the collection agency asking them to no longer contact you. The agency may not contact you again once the call or the letter is received. The agency will contact you once in order to inform you that no further contact will be attempted. The debt collector may contact you to inform you that the creditor intends to take some form of action regarding your debt.
Can my employer be contacted by a debt collector?
The debt collector may contact your employer or a relative to find out how to reach you and where you live. The collector may not inform anyone that you owe any money. The debt collector will only be allowed to contact your attorney if you have hired an attorney to help you through the debt collection process.
What information is the debt collector allowed to tell me about my debt?
Your debt collector is permitted to inform you of a few specifics regarding the debt to be collected. The debt collector must send you written notice within five days after the collection agency has contacted you initially to inform you of the collection. The information contained in the written notice will include:
- How much money you owe
- The name of the creditor you owe that money to
- What specific actions you may take if you believe the money is not owed
What are debt collection “unfair practices?”
The debt collector may not:
- Collect any amount of money larger than the amount owed
- Prematurely deposit a post-dated check
- Threaten to seize your property