The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, also known as the FDCPA, is a law, which was passed by Congress that regulates the methods collection agencies, can use to collect money from debtors who are behind on their payments. In the past many collection agencies would use unethical methods to extract payments from people, and this law was created to regulate them while protecting the debtor.
There are certain guidelines that collection agencies must follow when attempting to get payments. The FDCPA applies to a wide variety of debts, including medical bills, car loans, and credit cards. Many states have additional laws that serve to protect consumers, and their laws may cover debts that aren't covered by the FDCPA. It is important to have a basic understanding of this law. It will keep you from being the victim of collection agencies that use illegal methods of extracting payment from you.
Under this law, collection agencies are not allowed to contact the relatives or employers of a debtor. The only person who may be contacted other than yourself is someone who has co-signed the loan with you. They are also not allowed to threaten to ruin your credit or report you to an attorney in order to intimidate you into making payments. They may only warn of you these actions when they are in the process of getting ready to do it. Making false warnings to scare you into making payments is not allowed.
Collection agencies are not allowed to make phone calls at times that are deemed unreasonable. Any phone calls made before 8 AM or after 9 PM are not allowed. You must approve any calls that are made outside this time span first. Debt collectors are also not allowed to call you while you're at your place of employment. The use of profanity or racist terms is also not allowed. Letters cannot be sent to you that resemble those sent by courts, and if they decide to sue you they are not allowed to take you to a court that is far from your home.
It is important to understand this law if you find yourself in a situation where you have a large amount of debt and are having trouble making payments. While you should always try to repay back what you owe, collection agencies are limited in how they are able to contact you about those payments. Many agencies may violate this law, and if you are not familiar with it you will not be able to take any actions to defend yourself. If a collection agency violates the FDCPA, it may be possible for you to take them to court. If it is found that they have made numerous violations against debtors, a class action lawsuit may be filed.
If a collection agency violates this law when contacting you, you can report the incident to the state Attorney General's office. If the agency is in a different state, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission for assistance. You can also dispute the debt you owe by sending a letter to the agency within 30 days of the first notice informing them that you do not owe them anything. The agency will be forced to stop contacting you, but may decide to take further action that may require you to go to court.
The FDCPA is an important law that can protect in the event you are being contacted by collection agencies. While it is important for you to pay off any debts you have, agencies should not use unethical methods for getting you to make payments. This is a violation of the FDCPA, and they could be held liable.