Published on February 18, 2014
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act The Act creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the Act.
Debt Collector The FDCPA broadly defines a debt collector as "any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.
Debt • The FDCPA's definitions of "consumers" and "debt" specifically restricts the coverage of the act to personal, family or household transactions. • Thus, debts owed by businesses (or by individuals for business purposes) are not subject to the FDCPA.
Debt Tagging Debt tagging is a practice in which collection agencies and/or debt buyers will link a debt to someone without verifying their identity first. This is often done through the credit bureaus or by skip tracing. This practice can result in the wrong person's credit being affected. Debt Tagging is one of the reasons why it is so important to review your credit report annually.
FDCPA Violations • Ask you to pay more than you owe – The collector cannot misrepresent the amount you owe. [15 USC 1692e] § 807(2)(a) • Call repeatedly or continuously – The FDCPA considers repeat calls as harassment. [15 USC 1692d] § 806(5) • Use obscene, profane, or abusive language – Using this kind of language is considered harassment. [15 USC 1692d] § 806(2) • Call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm – Calls during these times are considered harassment. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(1)
FDCPA Violations • • • • Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient: – Calls at these times are considered harassment. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(1) Use or threaten to use violence if you don't pay the debt – Collectors can't threaten violence against you. [15 USC 1692d] § 806(1) Illegally inform a third party about your alleged debt – Unless you have expressly given permission, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about your debt. Threaten action they cannot or will not take – Collectors can't threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when the collector cannot or does not intend to take the action. [15 USC 1692e] § 807(5)
FDCPA Violations • • • • • Contact you at work knowing your employer doesn't approve – A collector is not allowed to contact you at work if you’ve let them know your employer doesn’t approve of these calls. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(a)(3) Ignore your written request to verify the debt and continue to collect – A collector can't continue to collect on a debt after you've made a written request to verify the debt as long as the request was made within 30 days of the collector's written notice. [15 USC 1692g] § 809(b) Continue to collect on the debt before providing verification – After receiving your written dispute, the collector must stop collecting on the debt until you have received verification. [15 USC 1692g] § 809(b) Continue collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice – If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication, it can only contact you one more time, via mail to let you know one of the following: that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated, that certain actions may be taken by the collector, or that the collector is definitely going to take certain actions. [15 USC 1692c] § 805(c) Fail to send a written debt validation notice – Within five days of the collector's initial communication, it must send you a notice include the amount of the debt, name of the creditor, and notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days. [15 USC 1692g] § 809(a)
File a complaint • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the collector. • File a complaint with your state's Attorney General. • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. • File a complaint with the http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ • When you file a complaint or suit against a debt collector, have as much evidence supporting your claim as possible, including dates and times of phone calls, name of the collection agency, name of the person you spoke with, and specific details about the violation.
The Act requires debt collectors to do the following:
• • • Give the name and address of the original creditor (company to which the debt was originally payable) upon the consumer's written request made within 30 days of receipt of the §1692g notice. Identify themselves and notify the consumer, in every communication, that the communication is from a debt collector, and in the initial communication that any information obtained will be used to effect collection of the debt. Notify the consumer of their right to dispute the debt (Section 805), in part or in full, with the debt collector. The 30-day "§1692g" notice is required to be sent by debt collectors within five days of the initial communication with the consumer. The consumer's receipt of this notice starts the clock running on the 30-day right to demand verification of the debt from the debt collector.
• Provide verification of the debt If a consumer sends a written dispute or request for verification within 30 days of receiving the §1692g notice, then the debt collector must either mail the consumer the requested verification information or cease collection efforts altogether. Such asserted disputes must also be reported by the creditor to any Credit Bureau that reports the debt. Verification should include at a minimum the amount owed and the name and address of the original creditor. • File a lawsuit in a proper venue If a debt collector chooses to file a lawsuit, it may only be in a place where the consumer lives or signed the contract. Note, however, that this does not prevent the debt collector from being sued in other venues for violating the Act, such as when the consumer moves outside the venue and a letter demanding payment is forwarded to the new address, even if the debt collector is unaware of such a change in residence.
Consumer Resources • Debts and Deceased Relatives: – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0081-debts-and-deceased-relatives • Identity Theft and Debt Collection: – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0009-taking-charge.pdf • Debt Collection: – http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: – http://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reformproceedings/fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text
Credit Bureau Reports • Reviewing your credit reports yearly can greatly reduce Debt Tagging issues. • Fraud alerts will not help. Debt Collectors illegally placed the debit on your credit file. A fraud alert gives them contact numbers to harass you with. • Look for debts that don’t belong. – The dates linked to the incorrect accounts may appear older • Closely review all areas of your credit report including: – Personal Information • Look for names & addresses that don’t belong
Tip • Once you start receiving collection calls or notices immediately start documenting every interaction with the debt collector. • Look up the company on the internet. Prepare to file FDCPA Violation complaints if the calls continue. • Use this document as a violation check list. • Consumers laws are for you, use them! • Don’t be a victim of a debit collector. If they have the wrong person, tell them. • Limit conversations. Anything you say may be manipulated and used against you. • You have no obligation to assist them in finding the true debt owner.
FDCPA in the news • February 28, 2014 In Debt Collection Case, FTC Sends Refund Checks to Consumers
Compiled and designed by Mark Fullbright , Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist™ (CITRMS) as a free service for consumers. Stay Safe, Stay Secure *Federal Trade Commission *Consumer Financial Protection Bureau *Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act As amended by Public Law 111-203, title X, 124 Stat. 2092 (2010) As a public service, the staff of the Federal Trade ...
External links. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Federal Trade Commission; Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Congressional Research Service
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Examination Objectives and Procedures EXAMINATION OBJECTIVES 1. To determine the adequacy of the institution’s
... enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ... Debt Collection; Debt Collection Arbitration; Debt Relief or Bankruptcy? Debts and Deceased Relatives;
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act spells out rights and responsibilities when collecting debts. Here's where you can find the complete text of the law.
It pays to know your rights. Find out the details of the Fair Debt Practices Act to protect yourself against abusive debt collectors.
Know your rights: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act By Connie Prater
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): A Brief Overview of Federal Law. A creditor may seek to collect an outstanding debt in several ways.
March 2016 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act CFPB Annual Report 2016
Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, marital instability, loss of jobs, and invasions of individual privacy.