A great deal of burden is placed on individuals with a significant amount of debt, which can easily become overwhelming as collection agencies make nonstop attempts to collect payment. In an effort to protect consumers, regulations exist to prevent harassment, abuse, and unfair acts on the part of collection agencies. If you have experienced unfair or illegal actions on the part of a debt collector, do not hesitate to contact an experienced West Palm Beach consumer rights attorney.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) places limitations and outlines rules which must be followed by debt collection agencies when attempting to collect outstanding debts such as mortgages, credit cards, medical debts, and other personal arrears.
It is important to note, that these rules do not apply for debt collectors employed by the original creditor.
Protecting Consumers from Unfair Debt Practices
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumers may limit the methods of contact used by debt collection agencies. Limitations are also set to prevent calls during inconvenient times and settings, including a place of work. Once a consumer has requested to not be contacted at their place of employment, debt collectors must cease this action immediately. Additionally, phone calls from agencies are not permitted before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also forbids collectors from using threats or profane language, making repeated calls, harassing debtors, or collecting payment without prior identification.
Hiring an attorney provides additional protection against collection agencies, as all future communications may only occur with the attorney on file. This prevents collection agencies from contacting relatives of the debtor in order to gain access to contact information they don’t have on file. For more information read the FTC’s article: Facing Debt Collection? Know Your Rights.
When Debt Collectors Break the Law
A consumer who is facing unscrupulous debt collection practices is advised to follow the steps below:
- File a request to cease all communication from the collection agency.
- Create a log recording the details of what occurred, when it happened, and possible witnesses.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Send the complaint to the state agency that regulates the collection agency in the state where it is located.
- Send the complaint to the original creditor and collection agency.
Suing a Debt Collector
Some consumers may find that merely filing a complaint is not enough to rectify the abusive behavior that they have been subjected to. When an individual feels that he or she has suffered as a result of poor debt collection practices, it may be wise to speak with a consumer rights attorney.
A cease letter from a debtor will not prevent a collection agency from taking future legal action, including a lawsuit.
If you are faced with a substantial amount of debt, contact a West Palm Beach consumer rights attorney at Kelley & Fulton, P.A. today to discuss your options for a future without debt.