As someone who owes a debt, you already know that you need to repay it and that it is late. The creditor may call and inform you about the debt, but if you ask for more information or try to negotiate, you shouldn’t have to worry about them yelling at you, degrading you or participating in other unfair actions.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act set up restrictions to prevent and eliminate deceptive, unfair and abusive tactics that would harm customers. Creditors are not allowed to do certain things when they attempt to collect a debt because certain actions violate your rights. For example, some of the prohibited practices include:
- Using threats to collect a debt. This includes threatening the person, their property or their reputation.
- Annoying, harassing or abusing a person by calling them repeatedly or, alternatively, not hanging up and allowing the phone to ring continuously.
- Making calls without identifying themselves, except for in cases of identifying locating information.
- Using profane, obscene or harmful language that abuses the person who took the call or opened a piece of mail.
Essentially, harassing or abusive practices are all banned, because they’re unfair to consumers. Additionally, it is not allowed for the credit collector to make any kind of false or misleading representations. For example, they can’t claim that they’re an attorney if they aren’t one, and they can’t say that they’re affiliated with a state or the federal government (unless, again, this is true). Creditors and collectors who fall under the FDCPA also can’t threaten or imply that you’ll go to jail for nonpayment unless the legal action is lawful.
If you want to know more about what is not allowed, you can review the full Fair Debt Collection Practices Act from the Federal Reserve. This goes over everything you need to know or as well as some topics you may want to discuss with your attorney. If you’ve been mistreated by a debt collector, know your rights. You may have an opportunity to make a claim against them and be able to take action to get them to stop their bad behaviors. If you continue to have issues with money, you may want to look into debt relief options, too.