9 Common FDCPA Violations by Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that was enacted to regulate the behavior of debt collectors and to protect consumers from unfair, illegal, and deceptive practices which the debt collectors engage in while recovering debts. Even though there are certain rules clearly set out in the Act for the collectors to comply with, a lot of collection agencies frequently commit FDCPA violations in a number of ways.
Taking or threatening to take negative or legal action
Debt collectors often threaten and intimidate consumers to convince them to immediately pay the money out of fear. While collecting debt, they may threaten to sue for old debts, sue without properly notifying the consumer about the lawsuit, confiscate or attempt to seize property, or collect exempt funds. Debt collectors who engage in these tactics violate the guidelines of FDCPA.
False statements or misrepresentation
Misleading and deceptive statements are other illegal tactics used by debt collectors. They misstate the amount of debt on the collection notice and try to collect more than is actually owed by the consumer. They may demand extra charges and fees that the debtor never owed. Sometimes, collectors mislead consumers by pretending to be attorneys or government officials to put more pressure on them.
Frequent or Repeated Calls
The collectors may constantly make calls to consumers several times a day in an attempt to annoy them into paying the debt. Sometimes they even call consumers at irregular or inconvenient times. Under FDCPA, they are not allowed to call before 8 am and after 9 pm or when the consumer has asked them not to call at a certain time.
Attempts to Collect Debts Not Owed
Debt collectors try to collect debts that the consumer does not actually owe, has already paid off, or was already discharged in bankruptcy. These debts no longer belong to the consumer in these instances. Therefore, it is unlawful for the collector to pursue collecting those debts.
Improper Contact and Sharing of Info with Third-Parties
Consumers often complain about debt collectors talking to their family and friends and disclosing the debt information to them without their consent. Debt Collectors also tend to contact the workplace or employer of the consumer in an attempt to humiliate the consumer and make him pay.
Failing to Verify the Debt
The collectors, when contacting the consumer fail to give enough information to verify the debt. They don’t send a written debt validation notice. However, they are required to disclose to the consumer the amount of the debt, the original creditor’s name, the right to dispute notice, and the right to seek written validation of the debt.
Use Profane or Abusive Language
The collectors, while collecting a debt, may become aggressive. They also may use harassing tactics to try to get the consumer to pay immediately. They use obscene and abusive language, including talking down to consumers, calling them names, and swearing in an attempt to collect the debt.
Not Disclosing the Right to Dispute the Debt
The collectors are often reported to have not disclosed to the consumer his right to dispute. Under FDCPA, the debt collectors are obligated to inform the consumer about his legal right to dispute the debt for which he is being approached.
Contacting Consumers After Being Asked to Stop
Debt collectors become a nuisance to consumers by contacting them regularly even after being asked not to. They are not allowed to communicate with the consumer once the consumer has sent in writing a statement not to contact them about the debt except when contacting to notify them of legal action being taken.
If you feel the debt collector is being violative of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act and using unlawful and unfair practices to recover a debt from you, contact Tariq Law, P.C., and book a consultation with our experienced attorneys.