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.

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  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!