The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects consumers from debt collectors. The FDCPA requires debt collectors to meet legal requirements when interacting with consumers who are in debt. When debt collectors violate the regulations set forth in the FDCPA, they may face liability under federal law. In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has collected millions of dollars for creditor violations.
What Does the FDCPA Say?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states when, how, and how often a third-party debt collector can contact a consumer debtor. The law does not regulate every debt collector. For example, if you owe money to a local business, the owner of the business is not bound by the FDCPA.
Who is considered a debt collector under the FDCPA? The FDCPA only regulates third-party debt collections, such as professional debt collection agencies. The following debts are covered by the FDCPA:
- Credit card debt
- Student loan debt
- Medical bills
- Other household debts
When and How can Collectors Contact Debtors Under the FDCPA?
The FDCPA prevents debt collectors from contacting debtors at inconvenient times. Debt collectors cannot call outside of the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., except when the collector and debtor have made an arrangement for a call outside of the allowable hours. Additionally, debt collectors cannot use unfair, abusive, or deceptive practices when collecting debts.
Can debt collectors call debtors at their offices or homes? Yes, unless the debtor tells the bill collector to stop calling his place of employment in writing or verbally. At that point, the collector becomes legally obligated to stop calling.
Additionally, debt collectors must send a debtor a validation notice within five days of contacting the debtor. The validation notice must clearly state the following information:
- How much money the debtor owes
- The name of the debtor the creditor
- What the debtor should do if the debt is not his or hers
Debtors can Request that Collectors Stop Calling Their Home Phones
Are you facing constant harassing phone calls from debt collectors? If so, you have the legal right to request that the collectors stop calling. You will need to make a written request that the debt collector stops calling you. We recommend sending the letter through certified mail with a return receipt. That way, you will have proof that the doctor received your request.
Debt Collectors can Only Discuss the Debt With the Debtor
Per the FDCPA, debt collectors can only discuss the debt with the debtor or their spouse. Debt collectors can only call third parties regarding the debt one time each. For example, debt collectors can call the debtor’s relatives, co-workers, or neighbors one time each. However, they can not reveal information about the debt.
Contact Our Consumer Debt Protection Lawyers
Are you facing harassment from a debt collector? If so, the Bankruptcy Law Center can help. We can help you enforce your rights under the FDCPA. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.