Posted: 10/15/2011 12:36:16 AM
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has a set of rules that determine what can be termed as harassment by the debt collector. Harassment can be either written or verbal. Calling you repeatedly at home or work place is a form of harassment. Harassing in any form is considered a severe violation of the FDCPA.
According to the FDCPA the following are considered violations of the Act by the debt collector:
- Harassing by calling repeatedly
- Threatening to use violence
- Using obscene or abusive language
- Calling at work place
- Calling after you request him not to call
- Calling but not giving name
- Sending notices that look like court notices
- Publishing a list of consumers who have not paid
- Trying to extract payment over phone
- Giving false identity of being an attorney
A debt collector can call you if there is a genuine debt to recover. But debt collectors are often over- enthusiastic and may end up placing too many calls or end up using tough language. This is considered to be harassment. The FDCPA punishes harassment by debt collectors. The Act gives out specific guidelines on what is considered unlawful behavior. These guidelines protect consumer rights.
If debt collectors obey the rules of the book the emotional stress faced by the debtors can be avoided. In the absence of this understanding there is a possibility of the consumer falling into the emotional trap.
You can avoid the harassment by following these simple rules:
- Stay calm during the call
- Do not enter into argument
- Do not use foul language
- Do not give away your bank details
- Ask for debt validation
- Send a cease and desist letter
- Dispute the debt
If the debt collector has harassed you and violated your rights, you can sue him. You may engage an FDCPA attorney who will take care of the legal aspects.
Posted: 10/14/2011 11:43:02 PM
According to Section 813 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a debt collector can be sued for damages per the FDCPA for using illegal or unethical collection tactics. Section 813 deals with suing debt collectors for violating the fair debt act.
The FDCPA is a federal Act that came into existence following the numerous complaints about the nefarious collection tactics of third party debt collectors. The NCO Financial Systems is one such debt collection agency known for its abominable and ruthless debt collection tactics.
The NCO has been in news for harassment cases many times. The NCO is a third part debt collection agency that buys debts from cell phone companies, hospitals and the government for a throw away price and attempts to collect on them. Often you may even have paid the bill that these people are attempting to collect but that does not deter them. They are bent on thrusting a debt on you which is so old that you have no obligation to pay it. The NCO Financial scams are so many that we can read news about them stooping low to harass neighbors, relatives, previous occupants of your address, co-workers, etc. to collect the payments.
The NCO Financial scams are not limited to violations of the FDCPA alone. The NCO has paid millions of dollars to settle the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other consumer acts. The NCO Financial scams are not related just to the violations of federal laws but to the state legislation violations too.
Section 813 A explains how civil liability can be imposed in three situations that the NCO are known to commit: actual damages, discretionary penalties and costs and attorney's fees. Any NCO debt collector who fails to follow as provided in this section, he is liable to debtor, an amount of one thousand dollars per violation. If an NCO debt collector has been found to have harassed a debtor, the court may award the defendant attorney's fees reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs.
The NCO Financial Systems has violated the FDCPA countless times. In 2004, the NCO was penalized with 1.5 million dollars fine by the FTC for reporting inaccurate information to the credit bureaus. The NCO has been repeatedly taken to book for violating consumer laws and has been penalized by court of law.
Debt collection agencies like the NCO train debt collectors who are paid a commission on collecting a debt. Their salaries are normally very low and are dependent on their collections. This drives them to behave in an unethical way to gain money. In the bargain they do not spare the innocent consumers. The FDCPA is applicable to debt collectors as it is to collection agencies. Therefore, debt collectors become liable like their employers.
Posted: 10/14/2011 11:53:07 PM
Three very important steps to stopping of debt collection are identifying whether you owe a debt or not, reviewing your rights and taking action of your rights have been violated.
The Fair debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was established by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ensure fair debt collection practices. The FDCPA is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and private attorneys governs fair debt collection methods. Any violation of the FDCPA can attract a compensation of $1000 per violation.
The following are the FDCPA Violations by debt collectors:
Are you a victim of debt collection calls? First find out if the debt collection company has been calling you by mistake. Even if it is calling by mistake or calling to ask for a relative or a friend, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from any type of harassment from debt collectors. If a debt collector calls you repeatedly and despite your repeated requests, continues to call, the FDCPA rights protect you.
- Calling you repeatedly at inconvenient times
- Threatening you with serious consequences
- Using abusive language
- Calling your place of work
- Not validating debt
- Demanding more than you owe
- Not disclosing identity
- Contacting third parties about your debt
- Contacting you even after you are represented by attorney
- Harassing you even after receiving cease and desist letter from you
Under the FDCPA rights, you may
Take action if the debt collector has not
- Not take a call from a debt collector
- Hang up on a debt collector
- Inform a debt collector not to call
- Send a letter to a debt collector not to call
- Fix a convenient time to call you
- Not allow debt collector to call you at odd times
- Ask debt collector to validate the debt in writing
- Instruct debt collector not to call at work place
- Send a cease and desist letter to debt collectors to stop further communication
- Engage an attorney for further communication and legal action
- Record the calls from debt collectors (if it is allowed in the state you reside in)
- Sent you a written notification of the amount of debt and the name of the creditor within five working days of the call
- Send you Mini Miranda warning
- Has not informed you of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days after you receive the notice, in the warning
- Disclosed in the first communication with you that he or she is attempting to collect a debt
- Informed you that any information obtained will be used for that purpose
- Included the above disclosure If the debt collector’s first communication with you is by phone
- Included the above disclosure in its first written communication with you as well
- Identified himself or herself in all subsequent communication with you
Posted: 10/14/2011 11:44:15 PM
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
allows residents of all states with considerable rights and protections against abusive, illegal and fraudulent debt collection practices
by debt collectors. Some of the debt collection practices restricted by the FDCPA
include using obscene language, lying and calling a debtor at work if the debt collector knows the employer disapproves. A debt collector should not disclose the debt to others such as friends, family members or co-workers.
A debt collector, as defined in the FDCPA, is anyone who regularly collects debts for original creditors. Original creditors, such as credit card companies and banks, are not considered debt collectors when they attempt to collect debts owed directly to them. Therefore, original creditors are not covered under the FDCPA.
The FDCPA covers only consumer debt, which includes personal, family and household debt, but not business debt or any debt incurred for business purposes. Common types of consumer debts are credit card debt, automobile loans, home loans, utility bills and medical debt.
The Florida legislature enacted supplementary state laws (Fla. Stat. §§559.55 - .785) to the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(FDCPA 15 USCA § 1692 et seq.). The state statutes supplement the FDCPA
by providing additional protections to Florida consumers.
Florida law is broader than the FDCPA as it also applies to "creditors" and not just to "collectors”. Further, Florida law prohibits debt collectors from indulging in various types of misrepresentation, unreasonable publication of debtor lists, unreasonable contact with third parties (including employers) about the debtor and threatening or harassing communications (Fla. Stat. §559.72).
In addition, the Florida statutes, in specified instances, provide consumers with a private cause of action against debt collectors who violate the state's statutes by giving consumers the right to sue offending debt collectors. Moreover, the state statutes provide for the award of punitive damages, at the judge's discretion, and for the award of attorneys' fees to a consumer should that consumer be successful enforcing his or her rights under the state's statute.
Florida has very specific guidelines regulating what debt collection agencies can and cannot do when attempting to collect unpaid debts. Debt collectors cannot:
- Misrepresent a law enforcement officer or representative of the government
- Use or threaten to use violence
- Communicate or threaten to communicate with a debtor's employer prior to obtaining a final judgment against the debtor
- Threaten to garnish wages without the final judgement against the debtor
- Unjustifiably disclose to a person other than the debtor or the debtor's family information affecting the debtor's reputation
- Harass the debtor or the debtor's family with frequent communication
- Use profane, obscene, vulgar, or abusive language
- Mail any communication in window envelope to embarrass the debtor
- Communicate with a debtor during inconvenient times