Ways the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects You
If you’re behind on making bill payments or a credit bureau has made it appear that way, you may be contacted by a debt collector. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), you are protected from debt collectors using deceptive unfair and abusive methods to collect this debt.
When dealing with debt emergencies, you have the right to request that the creditor provide proper documentation of the debt. Since it can take several weeks for these documents to be provided, you can use this time to pull some funds together.
The FDCPA laws cover not only the actual collection agencies but also the people working as debt collectors. When speaking with debt collectors, make sure to get the name of the person calling, the company that they work for, an address and phone number.
Make sure to record all details of contact with each agency including time, date and a brief summary of the conversation.
Debt collectors cannot contact you outside the hours of 8 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or at work if they receive documentation that the calls are not accepted. The act allows you to send a written letter to the debt collector, requesting that they stop all contact. Upon the receipt of the instructions, they are only allowed to contact you to either let you know that they received your request and will not be contacting you anymore, or that they have chosen to take a specific action.
The debt collector also must provide detailed information within five days of their first contact with you. The letter must contain the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money and what to do if you don’t think the account is yours.
The act covers personal, family and household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account and an auto loan, medical bill, or even mortgage.
The FDCPA, however, does not cover debts incurred when you run a business. Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you, make false statements. They also cannot claim that you will be arrested or that they will garnish or seize your property without already being granted permission to do so by law.
The debt collectors are also not allowed to share false information about you or use a false company name or engage in any unfair practices.