Common Collection Practices
Although the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) was passed in order to protect a consumer’s rights during the collection process, many collection agents violate the law and you should be aware of what a collector can and cannot do.
According to the FDCPA:
- A collector may contact you in person (rare), by phone, mail, fax, or email (rare).
- They are not to call before 8 am or after 9 pm.
- They may contact someone else (friend, family member, neighbor), but again, according to the FDCPA, only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, or where you work. They are prohibited from telling anyone else that you own money, but the phone call speaks for itself.
- They are not to call you at work, but we know they do.
- They are not to harass you by calling many times a day, over and over. But, they do so by using a computer dialer, which although is annoying, is not illegal as they have a “business” relationship with you.
If you feel your rights have been violated, you can:
- Report your problem to your state Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission .
- You have a right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date you believe the law was violated. Although this may be a lengthy and costly option, if you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages, employment or medical bills. It may be in your best interest to seek the advice of an attorney if you decide to sue the collector.