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What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) sets a standard for debt collectors. These standards also come with specific penalties for debt collectors who choose not to follow the guidelines set forth in the act.

If you are drowning in debt, the phone calls from debt collectors might be the bane of your existence. You don't have to live with having to field these calls all day and all night. You should learn about the protections and guidelines in the FDCPA so that you can invoke them and take action when necessary.

Can a creditor call me all day and night?

Creditors can't call you around the clock. They are limited to being able to call from 8 in the morning to 9 at night. The only exception to this is if you specifically ask the debt collector to call you outside of those hours. If you tell them "Call me at 11 p.m.," then they can give you a call at that time without facing any type of adverse legal actions for those calls. Another restriction for phone calls is that the debt collector can't call your place of employment after you have verbally or in writing instructed them to stop. In order to stop calls to your home, you must provide a written notice to stop the calls.

How does being represented by attorney impact communication?

If you have an attorney representing you for the debt, you can let the debt collector know. They will then have to contact the attorney regarding the debt and can only contact you if the attorney doesn't respond or strictly informs the collection agency to communicate with you.

What kinds of collection actions are strictly forbidden?

Debt collectors can't threaten you in order to recover a debt. This means that they can't tell you a police officer will come to your home or business to arrest you. They can't tell you that they are going to come and take your assets or home. They can let you know that they will start legal proceedings against you to collect the debt, but even then, they must have the intention of doing this when they say it.

What can I do if a debt collector goes against the FDCPA?

If a debt collector doesn't abide by the terms of the FDCPA, you can take legal action. Even if the debt is a legal and valid debt, you might be entitled to damages of $1,000. Other damages, such as your actual damages and attorney fees can also be recovered in this type of claim. You should understand what your rights are for handling FDCPA violations so that you can plan what you are going to do.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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