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Debt Collectors

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("Act") was enacted by congress in an attempt to prevent abusive collection practices. The Act only applies to outside collection agencies. The Act does not apply to the collection department of the owner of the debt. If you have a Chase credit card then Chase may call you and they are not subject to the Act but they are subject to Harrassment Law. You will most likely have to write a letter a Creditor that is not subject to the Act explaining that you are feeling harrassed and make a request that they only contact you by mail. The FDCPA restricts debt collectors from engaging in conduct including the following:

Collection Agency Restrictions
  • Contacting a third party who does not owe the debt, such as a relative, neighbor, or your employer. Co-signers to the debt, however, may be contacted by the debt collector;
  • Threatening to refer your account to an attorney, harm your credit rating, repossession or garnishment, without actual intention of action on the threat. Please note that a debt collector may warn you of an actual impending intention to refer your case to an attorney or to report your debt to a credit agency. What they cannot do is use a false threat to try to intimidate you into paying;
  • Making repeated telephone calls or telephone calls at unreasonable times. The act defines unreasonable times as contat before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM, unless you have given the debt collector permission to contact you during those hours;
  • Placing telephone calls to an inconvenient place. For example, contacting you at work in violation of a policy by your employer that is known to the debt collector or following a request by you that they not contact you at work;
  • When placing a telephone call to you at work, informing your employer of the purpose of the call, unless first asked by the employer;
  • Using obscenity, racial slurs or insults;
  • Sending letters which appear to have come from a court;
  • Seeking collection fees or interest charges not permitted by your contract or by state law;
  • Requesting post-dated checks with the intention to prosecute if they bounce;
  • Suing in courts far removed from your place of residence;
  • Making certain false representations in association with efforts to collect the debt, including the false claim that the person contacting you in relation to the debt is an attorney, falsely claiming to have started a lawsuit, using a false name, or using stationery that is designed to look like an official court or government communication;
  • Using false claims to collect information about the debtor, such as pretending to be conducting a survey;
  • Threatening you with arrest if you do not pay the debt.
What Must the Debt Collector Tell You About the Debt

Within FIVE (5)days of their first contact with you, the debt collector must send you a written notice telling you:

  • How much money you reportedly owe;
  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
  • That unless you, within THIRTY (30) days after receipt of the notice, dispute the validity of the debt or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector;
  • That if you dispute the debt in full or in part within that THIRTY (30) day period, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt and mail it to the consumer; and
  • That upon your written request within the THIRTY (30) day period, the debt collector will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
Debt Validation
  • If, within THIRTY (30) days after receiving written notice of the debt from the debt collector, you send the collection agency a Validation Letter pursuant to the Act, the debt collector must stop contacting you. The notice must be in writing, and must be hand delivered or postmarked within THIRTY (30) days of the first written notice from the debt collector.
  • If you write a Validation Letter all communications and enforcement must stop until the debt is validated.
  • If after a Validation Letter is sent under the Act, the creditor refuses to validate the debt, then the creditor may not legally collect the debt. If the collector does, then the law is violated and a suit for damages may be brought.
  • The debt collector may renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount claimed by the creditor.
What You can Do

You have the right to sue a debt collector in state or federal court within ONE (1) year from the date of the violation. If you win, you may recover damages in the amount of any losses you suffered as a result of the violation, plus an additional amount of up to $1,000.00. You may also be able to recover court costs and attorney fees.

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