Do You Know Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

A recent CNN Money article claims that complaints to the FTC regarding FDCPA violations were up 50% in 2009, and are looking to jump another 13% this year. It seems a lot of people aren't paying their bills, and collections agencies are struggling to collect the debts in a legal way. They are resorting to these thug-like tactics. And you may not even have to owe any money to feel the brunt of their abusive methods.

I recently shared that I'd been confronted by a couple of repo thugs regarding my neighbors car repossession. They claimed to think that I was hiding my neighbor's car in my garage. They were knocking on my door after 9pm, told me about my neighbors debt, accused me of a criminal act, and didn't identify themselves. If car repossession companies fall within the restraints of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), then these chumps were major violators, as the 4 actions above are all illegal according to the Act.

fdcpa rulesDo you know your rights under the FDCPA? A quick visit to the FTC's Debt Collection FAQ page and I learned the following:

Pretty much all types of debts except business debt are covered by the Act. This means that your credit card debt, car loan, and mortgage are all covered.

  • A debt collector may not contact you before 8am or after 9pm. And they may not contact you at your work.
  • A debt collector is generally not allowed to contact anyone else regarding your debt.
  • A debt collector cannot harass you. This means no threats, bad language, or repeatedly using the phone to annoy you.
  • A debt collector cannot make false statements like pretending to be a cop or claiming you've committed a crime.

If you think you've be victim to a FDCPA violation, you can fight back. File a complaint with your State's Attorney General and with the FTC. You can also contact a FDCPA lawyer, sue the collection company, and if found to be in violation, they could be forced to pay you $1,000. Then you'd have to sick your own debt collection company on them.

About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. The story sucks but the link is awesome– thanks.

  2. The Digerati Life says:

    Thanks PT, great advice about fighting off debt thugs. Can’t believe they’d go next door to bother you about it!