Debt Collector Complaints Are Increasing
A recent survey by the Consumer Federation of America found that debt collection issues are the fastest growing category of consumer complaints. The survey polled 34 state, county and city consumer agencies in 19 states and uncovered many abusive debt collection practices. The complete report, including proposals for consumer protection laws and tips for consumers to protect themselves, is available at the Consumer Federation of America web site, www.consumerfed.org.
The results of this survey are not surprising to many bankruptcy attorneys. People in debt can face a multitude of unethical practices employed by debt collectors. Fortunately, there are some consumer protections that are available. One of the most important consumer protections is the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). This law restricts third party debt collectors from employing abusive or unethical practices when collecting a personal, family, or household debt. The law restricts these collectors from:
* Contacting a third party who does not owe the debt;
* Making a false threat of civil or criminal legal action;
* Making repeated telephone calls or calls at unreasonable times (before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM); or
* Making phone calls to an inconvenient place (e.g. contacting you at work in violation of your employer’s policy).
Under the FDCPA the collector must state that the communication is from a debt collector and that any information obtained may be used to collect the debt. Additionally, the debt collector must provide certain information concerning the debt, including:
* The amount of the debt;
* The name of the creditor (and original creditor);
* That the debt will be assumed valid unless you dispute the debt within thirty days; and
* That if you dispute the debt, the debt collector must provide verification of the debt.
One of the most beneficial aspects of the FDCPA is that once you are represented by an attorney, the debt collector can no longer contact you directly. All communication must be made to the attorney. That means that once you employ bankruptcy counsel, you should no longer be called at home or at work by third party debt collectors.
A violation of the FDCPA is a serious matter and may be litigated in federal or state court. If you are being hounded by creditors, investigate your legal rights. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can explain your legal rights and help you choose the best course of action. Contact bankruptcy law firm, Fears | Nachawati, for a free consultation at toll free 1.866.705.7584 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.