Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that prohibits debt collection harassment and deception. It also provides various legal rights to consumers, including the right to request debt verification and the right to modify how debt collectors make calls. 

Debt collectors that violate the FDCPA are liable for damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

If you’re getting harassed by debt collectors or think they violated the FDCPA, contact us for help. To get a free case review from our debt harassment attorney, complete contact form.

What does the FDCPA prohibit?

In broadest terms, the FDCPA prohibits harassing, deceptive, and unconscionable debt collection practices. These are not defined terms, but general concepts. 

Here are common examples of debt collection practices the FDCPA prohibits:

  • Repeated, frequent, or continuous phone calls, texts, or emails.
  • Obscene language and threats of violence.
  • Hollow threats, like threatening jail, arrest, criminal prosecution, or imprisonment.
  • Attempting to collect debts that were paid or aren't owed.
  • Attempting to collect fees, charges, interest, or debts that are unlawful or unauthorized.

Does the FDCPA regulate how debt collectors can communicate about a debt?

The FDCPA does regulate how debt collectors can communicate about a debt. You have the right to tell debt collectors to stop calling you. You also have the right to tell debt collectors what times, places, and methods of communication are convenient for you. Additionally, the FDCPA regulates debt collection communications in the following ways:

  • Debt collectors can't contact you by postcard.
  • Debt collection agencies can't have language on envelopes that disclose that you owe a debt.
  • Debt collectors can't contact third-parties about your debt (absent limited exceptionw).
  • Debt collection agencies can't contact you if you are represented by an attorney.
  • Debt collectors must disclose their identity and contact information when they call.
  • Debt collectors can't claim false affiliation with police, courts, or government agencies.

What other rights are provided by the FDCPA.

In addition to regulating how debt collectors contacting you, and prohibiting harassment and deception, the FDCPA provides consumers many other rights, which include the following:

  • You have the right to request debt verification. This right must be properly disclosed to you.
  • Debt lawsuits can't be filed in inconvenient forums.
  • Debt lawsuits can't be filed on "time-barred" debts.
  • You can instruct debt collectors how to apply payments on debts if they're collecting multiple payments from you.

What happens if a debt collector violates the FDCPA?

When debt collectors violate the FDCPA, they are liable for damages, attorneys fees, and costs. The damages available include statutory damages of up to $1000, any monetary loss you suffered, and compensation for any anxiety or stress caused by the debt collector’s unlawful conduct. To learn more visit our debt harassment page.

Hire us to help!

If you’re having problems with debt collection agencies, debt buyers, or collection law firms, contact us for help. To get a free case review from our debt harassment attorney, complete our contact form.

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