By Kitty J. Lin, Attorney at Law
As the economy worsens, the number of people that are defaulting on their debt is unfortunately increasing every day. Once you are behind on your credit card payments or other debts, your phone starts to ring, most likely often and at inconvenient times. The good news is that there are laws that can protect you, the consumer.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1978 to combat increasingly abusive and harassing practices of creditors. Under section 1692(c), the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from certain abusive and deceptive acts when attempting to collect a debt. Some of the prohibited actions include: misrepresenting the debt or using deceptive practices to collect a debt, calling consumers outside normal business hours, which is from 8 am to 9 pm local time, using profane or abusive language when talking to consumers, continually calling and harassing consumers, threatening arrest or legal action when it is not permitted or even considered, talking to a third party (not including your spouse) regarding your debt, calling consumers at work when the creditor has been informed that it was prohibited or unacceptable by the employer, and contacting consumers after they have been informed that the consumer has retained an attorney. The above list is only a partial list of the prohibited acts. For a complete list, please contact us at 877-9NEW-LIFE or 877-963-9543.
One of the downsides of the FDCPA is that it only applies to debt collectors or third party debt collectors. Under 11 U.S.C. 1692(a), a debt collector is defined as “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.” This means that your original creditor (for example: Chase calling you regarding your Chase credit card debt) is not subject to the FDCPA. If you live in California, however, you are in luck. The Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act) mirrors the FDCPA, and the Rosenthal Act regulates both original creditors and third party debt collectors.
Not all kinds of debts and debt collection practices are regulated by the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act, so you should contact one of our experienced bankruptcy lawyers or our best bankruptcy lawyer if you believe you are a victim of the prohibited acts by creditors or debt collectors. You do not have to continue to be harassed day after day. You do not have to dread looking at your phone when it rings. If you are continually being harassed by a creditor, give us a call today at 877-9NEW-LIFE or 877-963-9543.