Sarah Edwards | January 24, 2023
Summary: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) exists to protect consumers from abusive and harassing actions by debt collectors. Congress initially passed the FDCPA in 1977, but it’s gone through several amendments to provide more safeguards. In this article, SoloSuit provides an FDCPA violations list of common mistakes made by debt collectors and how you can report such violations.
The FDCPA is a comprehensive piece of legislation that sets rules for communications between debt collectors and consumers. All debt collectors must adhere to this law. If their actions violate any of its provisions, consumers can file a complaint against them and potentially receive compensation.
It’s essential to report a violation of the FDCPA to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately. That way, the FTC can investigate and request the debt collector stop their illegal activities. Your report can protect you and other consumers.
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We’ve prepared an FDCPA violations list you should be aware of when communicating with a debt collector at any stage of the debt collection process.
A debt collector is in violation of the FDCPA if they:
Under 15 U.S.C. § 805 (a)(1), debt collectors cannot call you at an unusual time. The law specifies that debt collectors must assume your appropriate contact hours are after 8 a.m. or before 9 p.m. in your time zone.
If your debt collector begins calling you at 7:30 a.m. or 10 p.m., you can file a complaint. An exception will apply if you’re currently traveling outside your usual time zone. The creditor wouldn’t have a way of knowing that.
Your workplace expects you to spend your time doing your job, not resolving personal issues. However, some creditors will contact you at your place of employment if they discover where you work.
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from contacting you at work if you tell them your employer doesn’t want the calls. You can reference 15 U.S.C. § 805 (a)(3) in your complaint.
Under 15 U.S.C. § 805 (b), debt collectors cannot tell other people you owe a debt, including your spouse, best friend, or child. The only exceptions to this rule are your attorney (if you have one) or a credit reporting agency. They can also communicate the facts of your debt to their own attorneys.
Thus, if your teenager tells you that ABC Bank called and said you owed them money, you have the right to complain to the FTC.
You have the right to ask a debt collector to stop calling you and sending you letters or emails. If you ask for no contact, you must do so via a written note, per 15 U.S.C. § 805 (c).
Your debt collector must comply with your request. However, they can reinitiate contact if they intend to take further actions against you, like filing a legal Complaint.
Debt collectors cannot take actions that are abusive or harassing against consumers. Under 15 U.S.C. § 806, these activities are illegal:
All these actions are on the FDCPA violations list, and you’ll need to report them.
Let’s consider an example.
Example: Jane owes her credit card company, Free for All Finance, $500. She stopped making payments when she lost her job. Free for All Finance decides to harass Jane until she pays up. Since the company is a little crazy, it asks all its collectors to call Jane and scream obscenities at her at least once daily. After the third call from Free for All Finance, Jane files a complaint with the FTC. The FTC conducts an investigation, then fines Free for All Finance $1,000 for each time it called Jane.
15 U.S.C. § 806(4) states that debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to sell your debt to another debt collection agency or organization in order to pressure you into paying it off to them.
According to 15 U.S.C. § 806(5), it is considered harassment for a debt collector to call your phone repeatedly, even if you answer, with the underlying intent to annoy or abuse. There are also laws against robocalling, which often involves receiving a pre-recorded voicemail from a debt collection agency.
Whenever a debt collector contacts you, whether it be in writing, over the phone, over social media, email or in person, they must disclose that they are a debt collector and they are contacting you for the purpose of collecting a debt. This law is clearly stated in 15 U.S.C. § 806(6).
When communicating with you about a debt, collectors must be very careful. They can’t pretend to be someone else, such as a law enforcement agent. They also can’t pretend to be affiliated with the government in any way.
If you receive a letter from a debt collector on a form that looks like a legal process, be very wary. Under 15 U.S.C. § 807, creditors must be clear about their identities and can’t act under the pretense of the law.
Debt collectors cannot make threats to which they don’t have the legal right. If your house or other property doesn’t secure your debt, they can’t threaten to seize them. Doing so is a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 808(6).
If your debt collector insinuates that they will take your property if you don’t pay your bill, be very careful. Inform the collector that they don’t have the right to say that to you, then file a complaint.
Receiving calls from a debt collector can be anxiety-provoking. You don’t want your collector to report you to the credit reporting bureaus or sue you for your debt. Pay close attention to how the collector communicates with you. If their actions are FDCPA violations, protect your rights and file a complaint with the FTC.
It doesn’t matter where you find yourself in the debt collection process; SoloSuit can help.
When debt collectors first start calling, you can fight them off by sending a Debt Validation Letter. This document forces collectors to prove that the debt is valid before they can continue contacting you or take you to court for it.
If you’ve already been sued for a debt, you can respond to your lawsuit with SoloSuit’s Answer form. This form includes sections for you to respond to all the claims against you and list your affirmative defenses. On top of this, SoloSuit can help you file your Answer in all 50 states so you don’t have to worry about it.
Perhaps you know that you owe the debt. Maybe you even have some funds saved up to pay off a portion of it, or all of it, right now. If this is the case for you, consider reaching out to the debt collectors’ attorney to discuss a debt settlement offer. SoloSettle helps you send and receive settlement offers so you don’t have to deal with collectors directly.
Knowing your rights is important when it comes to battling debt collectors at their own game. But consumers, like you, can fight back and win in and out of court.
Check out this video to learn more:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
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Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
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