Recently I posted about debt collectors calling you at work. You have protection from debt collector harassment under a federal law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Here is a list of 26 types of debt collection harassment barred by the FDCPA:
- Threats of violence or harm.
- Use of criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
- Use of obscene or profane language or language designed to abuse the hearer or reader.
- Publication of lists of people who allegedly refuse to pay debts, unless done legally to a consumer reporting agency.
- Advertising a debt for sale to coerce payment.
- No continuous calling to annoy, abuse or harass you.
- Using false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.
- Debt collectors cannot lie about their identity, they must disclose they are calling to collect a debt.
- Representing or implying that the debt collector is vouched for, bonded by, or affiliated with the United States or any State, including the use of any badge, uniform, or facsimile thereof.
- Lying about the amount you owe.
- Lying about the nature or character of the debt.
- Falsely claiming to be attorneys.
- Falsely claiming that you have committed a crime.
- Telling you that forms are legal documents when they are not.
- Telling you that forms are not legal documents when in fact they are.
- Stating or implying that not paying will result in your arrest, or the imprisonment of anyone else.
- Threatening legal action that can not actually be taken.
- Threatening legal action that the debt collector has not intention of taking.
- Giving false information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company.
- Using a false company name.
- Sending you anything that looks like an official government document when it is not.
- Collecting interest and fees that are not part of your original contract.
- May not deposit a post-dated check early.
- May not contact you by postcard.
- May not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Using false or deceptive means to get information about you.
This list does not outline all of your rights under the FDCPA, but these are some of the more common ones you may see in dealing with debt collectors.
The FDCPA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. If any of your rights have been violated you can file a complaint with the FTC or online with the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau. Contact an attorney if you want to sue in state or federal court.
Stop Debt Collector Harassment, Move Forward with Repairing your Credit
Knowing your rights is an important part of the process of rebuilding your credit. You need to know the rules of the game if you are going to play it well. These laws are not a magic bullet that gets you off the hook for paying money you legitimately owe.
However, the FDCPA is another tool that levels the playing field when dealing with your creditors. Credit Repair Judo is about using these tools and helping you face your credit problems. It’s good to know that the law is on your side in some of these fights.