I was speaking to an existing dealer fraud client the other day and it was apparent that she had also been subjected to Debt Collection Abuse. I realized I had not addressed Debt Collection Abuse in some time.
Let's start with the basics. We, as a society, decided a long time ago that there were things that could not be done to collect even a good and valid debt. Not only is leg-breaking now unlawful, but almost all forms of abuse.
The major statute regulating debt collection is the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). However, the FDCPA has a blind-spot. It only applies to Debt Collectors. It does not apply to original creditors.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.
The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, an auto loan, a medical bill, and your mortgage. The FDCPA doesn't cover debts you incurred to run a business.
The FDCPA prohibits most forms of abuse.
- Calling outside of the mandated window of time (8 a.m. - 9 p.m.)
- Intimidating or abusive calls, including obscene language
- Threats of lawsuits, wage garnishments, arrest or violence
- Contact at work or with anyone else about your debt
- Incorrect amount of debt or added charges
- False or misleading information
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors
- Repeated and continuous contact
- Inappropriate contact
You can get some more information by going to the Federal Trade Commission Website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection
If you or someone you know have been the victim of Debt Collection Abuse, then you or they should contact a qualified attorney right away.