The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Summary: Protect Your Rights – Fight Violations
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act promotes the fair treatment of consumers by prohibiting debt collectors from using unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices.
This act applies to professional debt collectors who collect on loans they did not originate. Though it technically does not apply to banks, department stores, and other lenders who collect their own debts, no reputable lender is permitted to use such practices.
- Debt collectors are permitted to contact people other than the debtor only to locate the debtor or make a reasonable effort to communicate with the debtor about the debt.
- After making contact, debt collectors are required to send written notice informing the debtor of the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor, and the fact that the debt will be considered valid unless disputed within 30 days.
- Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing, oppressing, or being abusive in collecting a debt. This includes using threats or obscene language, publicizing the debt, making annoying or anonymous telephone calls, and misrepresenting the identity of the collector, the status of the debt, and the consequences if it is not paid.
If debt collectors violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumers can sue for actual and punitive damages.