FDCPA can save you from Collection Agencies

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA was propounded by the Congress to safeguard the interests of the consumers as they are often harassed by collection agencies. Debt Collection Practices constitute an important part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. To put an end to the irregular activities of the debt collectors in United States of America, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is prevalent in all the states of USA.

The FDCPA is a Federal Law meant for the protection of consumers. It encompasses a set of rules governing the activities of collection agencies. The Law also defines the type of information a debt collector is entitled to collect from the debtors. Not only this, the FDCPA also lays the ground for the legal action that can be taken against the the collection agencies. Have a look at the topics given below to know about FDCPA laws:

FDCPA helps consumers by imposing the following limitations on debt collectors

FDCPA restricts debt collectors from contacting a third party who does not owe money to the creditors. Third party may include employers, neighbors and relatives of the debtor. However, a co-applicant of a debtor can be contacted.
FDCPA does not allow a debt collector to - Ruin your credit rating
Refer account to an Attorney
Garnishment or repossession
Extract money by giving false threats
Making phone calls at odd hours is prohibited. A debt collector can make phone calls between 8.00AM to 9.00 PM. They are not allowed to make phone calls at your workplace, if your office policy does not allow it.
The debt collectors are not allowed to inform the employers about the purpose of the call.
Use of abusive and insulting language is prohibited as per the FDCPA guidelines.
Sending letters to debtors that appear to be sent by the Court is also not allowed.
The debt collectors are not allowed to charge interest rates and fees that were not agreed upon by you or your creditor.
Making requests for post dated checks with wrong intentions is also prohibited. There are times when debt collectors wait for a check to bounce so that they get an opportunity to prosecute you.
Filing lawsuit against you in a court which is located away from your place of residence is not preferable.
FDCPA also envisages that a debt collector is not allowed make false claims that he is representing an Attorney and use any stationery which appears to be a government or an official court communication.
FDCPA also states that a debt collector cannot collect information about a debtor posing as an official conducting a survey.
A debtor cannot be threatened of being arrested on failure to repay the debt amount.

Steps to take if a debt collector violates FDCPA

If it is found that a debt collector has violated FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) norms, you have every right to legally penalize the debt collector in a state court or a federal court. You can check out the FDCPA referral form and fill it out to seek legal assistance against a debt collector. You can sue a debt collector within one year from the time he violated FDCPA rules.

If you win the lawsuit, you can make claims for recovering damages you suffered due to debt collectors. In addition to this, you can also make claims amounting to USD$1,000.00. Attorney fees and court costs can also be recovered from the debt collectors if it is found that they have violated the FDCPA guidelines.

Whom to contact in case of FDCPA violation?

In majority of the cases, debtors who have been harassed by debt collectors report irregularities to the Attorney General of the respective states. You can also approach the Federal Trade Commission or FTC to register your complaints.