What Everyone Should Know About Rights Against Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law which protects consumers from harassing, oppressive, or abusive debt collection by collectors who are trying to collect a consumer debt. Consumers have a right to be treated with truth, fairness, dignity, and respect in all communications with a debt collector or collection agency.
In order to determine if an action is a violation of the FDCPA, the starting point is to ask these four questions:
- Is the communication with a Consumer?
- Is the act an attempt to collect a Consumer Debt (as opposed to a business debt)?
- Is the action taken by a Debt Collector or a collection agency?
- Is the action taken a violation of one of the requirements listed in the FDCPA?
Debt collectors cannot use methods to collect a debt that are unfair, untrue, undignified, and disrespectful.
The FDCPA prohibits a collecting agency from contacting most third parties about the debt. Debt collectors cannot contact third parties to collect a debt of another (other than to only ask for the location of the person).
The FDCPA violations include verbal abuse and harassment to collect a debt, robo/auto dialing of cell phones (without consent), and threatening to take action that the collector is not authorized to take.
- Remember to keep all voice mail messages from collectors.
- Remember to keep all collection letters and envelopes.
- Answer all cell phone calls and keep phone records.
- Know who is trying to collect against you.
- Remember that you have rights!
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE BUT FOR INFORMATION ONLY