If you are behind on bills, and your inability to pay off outstanding debts has resulted in constant communication from collectors, make sure you're not the subject of creditor harassment. Deceptive, unfair, and even abusive practices by hungry debt collectors have become so common that The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces what is known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Under the FDCPA, debtors are protected from the unfair / unlawful behaviors of collectors. Read below to better understand your rights as a consumer, and how a bankruptcy attorney can help you protect them using the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For immediate legal help, contact a Richmond bankruptcy attorney at Bruce W. White, P.C. Your first consultation is free!
Protections for Consumers
As stated in the FDCPA, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in “harassing” behaviors, i.e. behaviors believed to be abusive, deceptive, or otherwise unfair in nature. If you have been subjected to any of the following, do not wait to contact a lawyer:
False Statements: When attempting to collect on a debt, a creditor or collector may not make any false statements or claims. Collectors are restricted from saying or implying that you'll be arrested if you don't pay your debt; they are also prohibited from threatening to seize or garnish your property or wages unless they have been permitted to do so by law. Additional false statements creditors are not allowed to make include:
- Misrepresenting the total amount you owe
- Claiming to be an attorney or government representative, or claiming to work for a credit reporting company
- Accusing you of committing a crime
- Indicating that the papers they send to you are legal forms if they are not, or indicating the papers are not legal forms when they actually are
Forms of Harassment: Debt collectors are forbidden from engaging in any form of harassment or abuse when contacting debtors and third parties. This includes:
- Using profanity
- Threatening violence or harm
- Repeatedly calling someone after hours
- Publishing the names of people who do not pay their debts
Unfair Treatment: The FDCPA outlines several unfair practices, all of which debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in. These include:
- Collecting, or trying to collect, interest or other fees in addition to what you owe
- Providing anyone with false creditor information about you
- Contacting you by postcard
- Depositing a post-dated check prematurely
- Illegally taking, or even threatening to take, your property
Need an Attorney? Call Bruce W. White, P.C. for a Free Consultation.
If you have been unfairly subjected to any of the practices listed above, do not wait to involve a lawyer in the matter. The FDCPA was designed to protect debtors like you from these types of mistreatment, and an experienced attorney can help ensure your consumer rights are not further violated by a debt collector. Contact a Richmond bankruptcy lawyer at our office for a free consultation. We can be reached at 804.655.0502.