Your Rights and Debt Collectors

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:

  1. Is the communication with a Consumer?
  2. Is the act an attempt to collect a Consumer Debt (as opposed to a business debt)?
  3. Is the action taken by a Debt Collector or a collection agency?
  4. 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!