Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – Know Your Rights

In today’s economic conditions, more and more people are swimming in debt.  At last check the average American household is carrying over $8,000 in credit card debt. 

You may be one of those people carrying the debt however you are still entitled to some dignity in how you repay your debts.  In other words you have rights and you cannot and should not be pressured into the manner in which you repay your debts.  The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act(FDCPA) is what gives you these rights.  If you are in debt and are being called by creditors then keep reading to make sure your rights are not being violated.

Did you know?

The FDCPA was created to counteract the abusive practices of collection agencies.

The FDCPA applies to all types of debt incurred by a household including mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and even retail store cards.

The FDCPA applies only to 3rd party collection agencies.  For example if you have a huge medical expense and someone from the hospital calls you regarding repayment, that is not covered under this act.  If they send this to a collection agency or law firm for collection then this act goes into effect.  By the way it is very rare you would get abusive treatment directly from a store or credit card company because they want to keep you as a customer.

What can’t they do?

They cannot contact any 3rd party about your debt.  They can’t call your cousin, mother, father, neighbor or anyone else.

They can’t make idle threats to intimidate you.  For example they can’t say we are going to repossess the items you purchased unless they actually intend to do it.

They can only call you during reasonable contact hours.  Those hours are between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM.  They also cannot continuously call your phone number over and over.

They can’t call you at work unless you give them permission.

They can’t insult you or use any type of profanity, or racial or ethnic slurs.  So calling you cheap, lazy or a bum is out of the question.

They can’t ask for a post dated check and threaten you if it bounces.  Well my question is why would you want a post-dated check anyway?  If I’m in debt I don’t like the odds that the post dated check will clear.

They can’t charge you any excessive collection fees.  This has always puzzled me about debt repayments.  If I can’t pay the original bill how is adding fees and penalties going to allow me to pay it off any faster

They can’t lie to you by pretending to be something they are not, even though we will often lie to them by saying I’m not home right now when I am the one they are talking to.  They can’t pretend to be a lawyer or a court official or any type of misrepresentation.  They can’t use any type of documents that look like they are official court documents.  They also can’t pretend to be taking a survey to get information about you.

Finally they can’t threaten to have you arrested if you don’t pay the debt.  By the way I don’t know how you can repay if you are in jail.

So those are your rights, know and use them if you must.  By the way companies face serious penalties and legal action if they violate these rules.   So if you are in debt and are working to repay them don’t be afraid to enforce your rights if they are being violated.