Fair Debt Collection Act | What is the FDCPA?
The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Act) is a federal law that protects consumers who owe consumer debts from abuse and harassment by debt collectors. It only protects consumers from third party debt collectors, not creditors. What is a creditor? To give you an example let’s say that you have a store credit card. You are unable to pay the bill and the store calls you requesting that you pay the money. If the store abuses or harasses you it is not a violation of the FDCPA. That is because the store is a creditor, not a third part debt collector.
If you need help call a debt collector harassment attorney at 716-831-1111.
Fair Debt Collection Act | A debt collector called my neighbor asking for my address- is this legal?
A debt collector can call a neighbor only to verify location information. If the debt collector already has your location information then he/she cannot legally call the neighbor or any other third party. A third party is someone other than the the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.
If you give express permission for the collection agency to speak with a person then that person is no longer a third party. When the debt collector calls your neighbor he/she may not reveal any information about the fact that you owe a debt.
A debt collector can only call a third party for location information, not to find out where you are located. Debt collectors frequently do not understand this. They will call a third party, a neighbor for example, and state that they are trying to find out where you are at the moment. If they already have your address this is a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Act) law. A debt collector cannot call a third party to find out where you are at the moment. He/she can only call a third party for location information if he/she does not have your current address or phone number.
Fair Debt Collection Act | Can a debt collector call me at work?
A debt collector can call you at work unless he/she knows or has reason to know that your employer prohibits you from receiving such communications. So what do you do when a debt collector calls you at work. If such calls are prohibited you simply tell the debt collector that you are not allowed to receive such calls at work. If the debt collector calls you at work again that is a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Act). Often a debt collector will tell you that he/she can call you at work unless you put it in writing. This is untrue. There is nothing in the law that states you must put your request in writing. A debt collector also may not reveal any information at all about your debt to your co-workers, boss or any other third party at work.
What are Some Examples of Things That Debt Collectors Do That Violate the FDCPA Act?
There is a very long list of things that debt collectors cannot do. They must follow the Fair Debt Collection Act. Following are a few examples of illegal activities:
A debt collector cannot just tell you his own name or alias. He/she must identify himself/herself when calling you. He must state the company he represents as well as the fact that he is attempting to collect a debt.
A debt collector cannot contact a third party once he knows your location information. An example of a third party would be a neighbor, relative or co-worker.
A debt collector cannot threaten to take legal action and sue you or take you to Court as the debt collector is not an attorney.
A debt collector cannot make a misleading statement in order to collect the debt. An example would be a debt collector telling a debtor that the case has been filed with the Courts when it has never been filed with any Court.
A debt collector cannot contact you at work if he/she knows or has reason to know that you are not allowed to receive such calls at your place of employment.
A debt collector may not misrepresent the amount that you owe.
A debt collector cannot use vulgar language or racial slurs when conversing with you or leaving you any message.
A debt collector cannot threaten to garnish your wages. You can only have your wages garnished after you have received a Summons and Complaint and have the opportunity to defend yourself at a Court hearing.
These are just a few examples. The best way to decide whether or not the debt collector you encountered violated the Fair Debt Collection Act is to contact a consumer attorney. They will be able to evaluate your case for free and let you know your legal rights in the matter.
Call a Buffalo FDCPA attorney at 716-831-1111.