What Are the Most Common Violations of Fair Debt Collection Laws?

If you fall behind on your bills or have accumulated debt, you may be contacted by a debt collection agency. Debt collection agencies collect delinquent debts, which are bills that are not paid for by their due dates. Common debts that third-party agencies chase after include credit card purchases, medical bills, and student loans. Debt collectors contact consumers by letter or phone to convince them to pay their bills. Often, if a debt collector can’t reach a borrower by letter or mail, they resort to other ways of obtaining contact information, such as hiring a private investigator or using advanced software systems.

Often, debt collectors are persistent in their methods to reach borrowers. Unfortunately, some debt collectors resort to unethical, harassment-like behaviors when communicating with borrowers. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from third-party debt collectors who use unethical communication methods. The law outlines specific rules that debt collectors must abide by when communicating with people.

If you are contacted by a debt collector, you should know your rights and the rules they must follow. Consulting with a skilled debt defense lawyer is the best way to navigate the debt settlement process. Here are some common debt collector violations to be aware of when communicating with debt collectors.

Excessive Communication

Debt collectors are on a mission to collect your debt. Sometimes, they can pursue excessive communication strategies. However, the FDCPA outlines specific communication protections for consumers. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from making excessive phone calls. If you feel that a debt collector is harassing you or calling you excessively, you should consult with an attorney to determine whether their efforts crossed the line and if you have a claim against them for violating the FDCPA. In addition to protecting against excessive phone calls, the FDCPA prohibits collectors from calling at odd hours of the day.  In some instances, the FDCPA provides other protections against certain methods of communication, especially if you’ve previously told them such a method is inconvenient or unwanted.

Threats and Intimidation

Another serious violation a debt collector can commit is threatening individuals. If a debt collector uses intimidation tactics or threatening language, they can face serious repercussions. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are strictly prohibited from using aggressive language or harassing behavior when communicating with borrowers.  Although just being rude may not be considered a violation, so if you suspect a debt collector may have gone too far in their coercion, you should consult with an experienced attorney who will be able to advise you whether you have a claim.

Contacting Borrowers at Work

In attempts to get in touch with a borrower, a debt collector may look up the contact information of their employer. Sometimes, they will use this additional contact information to harass a borrower by calling their employer. Since excessive calls from a debt collector could put borrowers at risk of losing their job, the FDCPA outlines specific rules for calling employers. If you tell a debt collector to stop calling you at work, they must adhere to your request or it is a violation of the FDCPA.

False Representations of Owed Debt

In attempts to collect a higher amount than the borrower’s debt, some debt collectors will tell borrowers they owe more than they really do. Additionally, debt collectors may add fees or charges that were not in the borrower’s original loan agreement. If you have been contacted by a debt collector, you have the right to request verification of the debt before paying it. There are a lot of ways a debt collector can mess this up.  Even if they make an unintentional misstatement, they can still be found liable for violating the FDCPA.

Contact a Skilled Debt Collection Attorney

Does a debt collector owe YOU money? If they violate the FDCPA, they could. Unfortunately, creditor harassment is a common problem. But there are a lot of other ways a debt collector can run afoul of the law too, which may not be as obvious to someone without the experience and legal training to spot it. If you have bills you are struggling to pay and suspect you will be contacted by a debt collector, it is important to know your rights and all your options. At McCarthy Law, we protect your rights and work with your creditors to negotiate a debt settlement. Our team works tirelessly to ensure our clients get a settlement that fits their financial situation. If a debt collector violates the law, it’s important to have an attorney on your side that can turn that to your advantage. To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced member of our team, call our office at (855) 976-5777 or fill out an online contact form today.

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Joe Panvini

Joe Panvini

Joe received his law degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in 2010. On behalf of consumers, he has successfully briefed and argued complex consumer law issues in both individual and class action lawsuits. Joe is admitted to practice in Arizona and Washington, as well as numerous federal courts across the country, including the Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals.