Know Your Rights - The FDCPA
Rights under the FDCPA
Here is a brief review of our rights under the FDCPA:
-It details a person’s right to request more information about the alleged debt. The procedure is called debt validation and it’s a powerful intervention that we will be explaining in greater detail. Until then, understand that debt validation allows every consumer the right to dispute the validity of the debt. The collection agency must respond with proof that the debt belongs to the person, otherwise they must stop collection efforts and REMOVE the account from all credit reporting agencies. Debt validation is an effective tool for removing collection accounts.
-Provides behavioral standards for acceptable third-party collections. The following are examples of violations:
The collection agency threatens to tell your client's employer or neighbors about the debt, or actually does tell them about the debt.
The collection agency speaks about the debt to a party that is not responsible for the debt
Pre-Texting- The collection agency acts as another company in an effort to gain additional information. Here is an example: the collection agent claims to be from a raffle/prize company and notifies the debtor that they “Won” in order to extract information about their finances, employment or other items.
The collection agency calls at unreasonable hours. 9:00 p.m. - 8:00 a.m. is considered unreasonable under the federal law.
The collection agency threatens to take action against the person that it cannot legally take (for example, threatening to take money out of their Social Security check or threatening arrest or jail).
The debt collector communicates with the person in a manner to harass, intimidate, threaten, or embarrass the debtor.
The debt collector communicates with the person or spouse more than three times in a single week.
The debt collector communicates with the person through the use of notices that look like government documents, or emergency messages.
The debt collector is prohibited from soliciting a postdated check in order to threaten criminal prosecution. A postdated check may not be deposited by a collector before the date on the check. Additionally, a collector's acceptance of a postdated check violates the law unless it gave the consumer who wrote the check 3 to 10 business days notice prior to depositing the check.
-Requires debt collectors to immediately identify themselves when communicating with the person whether it is on the telephone “Hi this is Joe from ABC collections” or in written form “This corresponded is an attempt to collect a debt.” This helps to prevent sneak attack behavior.
-Allows a person to request that the collection agencies stop contact with them. This is formally called “cease and desist.” However, this is not recommended because the collector will have no other choice but to take the person to court. So be careful before you send any letter with the words “cease and decease” on it, as you might get your client sued.