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Debt Collectors Cry Foul

June 15, 2011

The New York Times has written a story about the debt collection industry and its poor telephone collectors who, not surprisingly, get no respect. The article states that one debt collector, Lesllie Rogers, uses a pseudonym because she has “been routinely insulted, pummeled with obscenities, crudely propositioned and threatened with violence by the people she calls.”

Really? The collectors feel threatened by the debtors?

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that protects the debtor from abusive collection practices, such as:
Telephone contact before 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time;
Telephone harassment such as constant telephone calls or repeated telephone conversations with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass;
Telephone contact at the debtor’s job after being informed that such contact is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer;
Contacting a debtor known to be represented by an attorney;
Contact after a debtor has made a request for validation of the debt;
Threatening arrest that is not lawfully permitted;
Using abusive or profane language towards the debtor;
Discussing the nature of a debt with a third party; and
Contact by embarrassing media, such as a postcard or telegram.

The FDCPA applies to third parties, such as collection agencies and attorneys, and carries a penalty of up to $1,000 and attorney fees. The FDCPA also prohibits “any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt,’ including “The use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer.” So, does the use of a pseudonym used by Lesllie Rogers and other debt collectors violate the federal law? Does the FDCPA allow such falsehoods during the process of collecting a debt?

The FDCPA is a federal law that protects consumers. There are several laws that can help protect your property, your liberty, and even your sanity from bill collectors. If you are experiencing financial trouble, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discover the federal and state laws that protect your rights. 


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