Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA ) and Collection Agencies


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act controls how and when collection agencies go about collecting outstanding debts.  Congress determined that collection practices were abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors.  To combat inadequacies in existing laws, the FDCPA was passed.  The purpose of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is to insure collection agencies do not use any abusive collection actions and to make sure there is consistent State action to protect consumers from collection agencies.  A large limitation of the FDCPA is that this law only applies to collection agencies, not the original creditor attempting to collect a debt.

What is a Violation of the FDCPA?

A collection agency may not contact a person owing a debt during an unusual time, an unusual place or a time or place that is known to be inconvenient.  A convenient time is assumed to be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  A debt collector may not contact a consumer if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney and the attorney’s contact information is readily available.  A collector may not contact a person at their place of employment if they know the employer does not allow such phone calls.  Collection agencies may not call or speak with any person other than the consumer who owes the debt or their attorney.  If a consumer sends in writing a cease and desist letter to the debt collector, the collector shall not communicate any further with the consumer unless it is to advise that the collection agency is terminating all collection efforts or a remedy to the nonpayment of the debt is being chosen.  A deb collector may not take any action to harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with an attempt to collect a debt.  The following are defined as harassment: the use and/or threat of use of violence or harm to reputation and property; the use of profane language; advertisement of sale debt to force payment.  A collector may not represent they are attorneys or part of the State or Federal governments.

What are the Penalties for Violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?

A consumer may collect actual damages incurred by a violation of the FDCPA, but not exceeding $1,000 and the cost of the action including reasonable attorney’s fees.  The court may consider any violation of this act, the frequency and persistence of the violations of this act and the extent the noncompliance was intentional when considering if liability is present.

If you are tired of harassing phone calls, contact our Redwood bankruptcy lawyers or Fremont bankruptcy attorneys to find out if bankruptcy is right for you.  Call toll free, 1-877-963-9543 to schedule a free consultation.