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Protection from Debt Collector Harassment

Many people who are in debt or once were are well familiar with the constant attention from debt collectors. Debt collectors can be persistent and cause a lot of stress for those who are in debt, by hassling them at inappropriate times or trying to contact others personally to get more information about the debtor in question. Luckily, the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) makes certain collection procedures illegal for debt collectors to implement. Knowing what debt collectors can and cannot do is important as an individual to understand that you have rights that protect you from collection harassment.

The FDCPA (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 to 1692p) applies to debt collectors and lawyers who are assigned to collect a debt. They need to have been assigned to a debt collection after default, ownership of the debt is irrelevant, and all debt collectors are subject to the FDCPA. Under FDCPA prohibited communications of debt collectors include:

· Contact with third parties that is unauthorized; third parties include: neighbors, friends, family, and the work place, boss, secretary, or HR department

· If a debt collector was previously told not to contact the client specifically at work, then they are not permitted to make calls to the work place

· Contact with a client after a cease and desist letter has been sent

· Contact after an attorney has been brought on to represent a client

FDCPA also gives protection from harassment and abuse of collectors in the case of:

· Violent threats

· Obscene language

· An excessive amount of phone calls

Clients are also protected from false or misleading representations by creditors:

· Cannot misrepresent amount or status of debt

· Cannot lie about if they are an attorney or not

· Cannot threaten: arrest for failure to pay debt, illegal activity, or a lawsuit when not intended to pursue a lawsuit

· Cannot misrepresent credit information

· Misrepresentation of business name is not allowed

· Cannot have a legal process represented as a NOT legal process and vice versa

Unfair practices that are prohibited under FDCPA are:

· Cannot collect amount unless authorized by law or documentation

· Checks made more than 5 days out

· Threatening repossession with the legal right to do so

· Sending out a postcard with the debt posted

Being aware of your rights as an individual in cases such as debt collector harassment is important. If you are experiencing any form of harassment from debt collectors, consider contacting an attorney who is well knowledgeable on protection against debt collectors, and will help you get out of debt as quick as possible.

Works Cited

Cohen, Joshua R.I. Student Loan Law Workshop. Law Office of Joshua R.I. Cohen, LLC, 20 Apr. 2013.

Leonard, R., & Reiter, M. (2013). Solve your money troubles: debt, credit & bankruptcy (14th ed.). Berkeley, CA: Nolo Press.

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