What Are the Rules Governing Debt Collection?
If you are in the predicament of being behind on payments, you have most likely received an attempt to collect the debt from the company or person. While debt collection "bullies" are less common due to more awareness of debt collection laws, there may be instances where you are faced with false representation, threats, and general abuse from a debt collector. If you have come into contact with an over-aggressive bill collector, it's important to know your right as a debtor and what to do when a debt collector steps over the line.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) acts as a consumer protection agency for Americans. The organization established the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in order to establish a legal protection against abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from reporting false information to your credit report, threating arrest or legal action, or using abusive or profane languages in communications, among other actions. It also prevents debt collectors from calling earlier than 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm. The complete list of rules can be found at the Federal Trade Commission website.
Anyone who is making contact with a debtor must abide by a number of requirements, including they must identify themselves, notify you of your right to dispute the debt, and must provide for verification of the debt when asked.
Violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Violations of the FDCPA by a debt collection agency can be punishable by $1000 in statutory damages, in addition to, your attorney fees. Because fees are included it's highly recommended that you obtain the services of an attorney in order to represent your rights. The burden of proof is on you as the debtor to show that a debt collector violated the FDCPA. Additionally, you must file an action against the debt collector within one calendar year of the violation.
If you truly want to be free of debt collectors, contact your local Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorney and ask them if filing for bankruptcy protection is in your best interest. A bankruptcy lawyer can review your income, debts and expenses and inform you of how much can be wiped out using the bankruptcy process. They can also direct you through the process and give you counsel on the best way to accomplish you debt relief goals.