How am I protected under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act “FDCPA”?
It’s a law that was established as part of the 1978 Consumer Credit Protection Act, and it’s a law that you can use to your benefit. This law is what protects you from abusive debt collectors, and keeps ethical collectors from calling you at odd hours of the day. It even allows you to get compensated for the pain those debt collectors put you through. If that isn’t an incentive to like this law, we don’t know what is!
Who is covered by this law?
This law protects consumers who are dealing with consumer debt against abusive debt collectors. Any person who currently or allegedly owes a debt is a consumer. Consumer debt is defined as any debt that is used for personal, family, or household needs. And, debt collectors are the people who are paid to get the money owed by the debt. Business debts, alimony, child support, and criminal fees aren’t covered by this law.
How can I tell that the FDCPA applies to the company asking me for money?
A good rule of thumb to use is that if you didn’t originally owe money to that company, the FDCPA applies. So, collections agencies and debt buyers both apply.
How does this law protect me?
By law, the FDCPA requires debt collectors to pay consumers up to $1000.00 per violation. So, if a collections agency called you 10 times in a row in the middle of the night, that can mean a sum of up to $10,000 in your pocket!
Sounds awesome. How much do I have to pay you?
The FDCPA also requires the debt collectors to pay the legal fees associated with transgressions. So, you pay us nothing.
So, does this mean you’ll represent me in court?
Actually, The Credit Express isn’t a law firm. What we do is forward your case to an attorney who will analyze it and decide whether or not you have a case. If you do qualify, you can prepare yourself for a nice sum of cash. This is all done for free, too, so you have nothing to lose.
How can I tell if the debt collectors made an FDCPA violation?
If they did any of the following, you have been dealing with a collector that has been violating the law.
- They refuse to disclose their identity properly.
- By law, they need to say who they are, what creditor the debt is owed to, how much you owe, that the call is recorded, and that the communication is an attempt to collect the debt that you owe.
- They lied about who they are. Police will never call you in order to receive money owed on a debt. If you got this in a call, you have an FDCPA violation or a legal violation.
- They threatened you with legal action that they weren’t actually capable of doing.
- Threatening legal action is almost always a violation of the FDCPA, unless they are about to put a judgment against you. They are not allowed to arrest you, take collateral that wasn’t part of the deal, or do anything similar to that.
- If you ask them to (in writing), they have to stop calling you – especially when it comes to your workplace phone. If they refuse to stop, it’s likely a violation.
- If they refused to allow you to dispute the collection within the first 30 days of being made aware of it, they are violating the law. You have a right to a written dispute in the first 30 days. We suggest you use it.
- They used profanity over the phone, or verbally abused you. Swearwords, insults, name-calling and other similar behaviors are strictly prohibited.
- They discussed your debt with 3rd parties. If they talked to your employer, your relatives, or your friends about the debt you owe, they have made a violation happen.
- They published your name or publicly humiliated you for being unable to pay your debt. This is considered a form of harassment and abuse.
- They blackmailed you. Can it get any more illegal than this? We think not!
- You are being represented by a debt lawyer, but they don’t care and keep calling. If you’re already represented, they are legally obligated to stop all collections calls immediately.
- If we successfully get them fined, what happens to my debt? You might still owe it. However, you will have some money to pay towards that debt. There are also debt settlement programs out there that can help you pay a smaller amount than what you owe.
Still need help? If you have a question that isn’t answered here, or if you feel like you could use advice when it comes to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act “FDCPA”, we are here to help you! You may call us at (678) 983-4555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re also more than welcome to visit our office. Evening and weekend appointments are available.