When you fall behind on your credit cards, medical bills and other loan payments, it doesn’t take long before the debt collectors start calling. When you are dealing with debt collection agents, it is imperative that you understand your rights and how to identify illegal behavior. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a collection of laws that were passed to protect consumers from being abused or deceived by collectors.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is defined as any party who routinely collects money from consumers. This includes not only debt collection agencies, but also attorneys who regularly collect debts as well as companies that buy delinquent accounts and attempt to collect them.
The FTC website details a variety of examples of collection tactics that are prohibited, but below is a summary:
- Harassment. It is illegal for debt collectors to threaten consumer borrowers with violence if they fail to pay their debt. Collectors cannot use profane language or repeatedly contact the borrower as a means for annoying you into paying. The collector is not allowed to make threats that cannot be legally carried out (for example, claiming they will publicly humiliate you by publishing your name if you fail to pay).
- Unfair practices. The law prohibits a collector from using unfair tactics such as trying to collect amounts not authorized under the law or by contract, making early deposits of post-dated checks, contacting you regarding your debt via postcard or other public means, and making threats that your assets will be seized (unless legally allowed).
- False statements. Debt collectors cannot lie about who they are or who they work for. They cannot claim false amounts that are due or lie about actions they can take to collect debts. Collectors are also prohibited from providing false credit information to third-parties such as the credit reporting agencies.
If debt collectors are harassing you or using illegal tactics with you, we can help. Let us take immediate action to stop the unlawful collection activity and ensure that your rights are protected. In certain instances, we may also be able to file a lawsuit against the debt collector to recover damages.
We are debt relief lawyers who know how to make a difference in your financial situation. We have experience you can rely on and we care about your results. Contact our New Jersey law firm online by filling out the form or by calling 973-323-2953 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C..