Everyone has received a call from a debt collector at one point or another. Sometimes that call pertains to a debt you owe. Sometimes it doesn’t. While most people take care of the matter in a civilized way, there are situations in which debt collectors engage in harassing behavior such as threatening physical violence, jail time and public embarrassment. That’s why the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created. How much do you know about it?
The FDCPA was passed over 30 years ago to protect consumers against abusive debt collection practices – regardless of whether you owe the debt or not. Here’s an FDCPA 101 crash course on how it works.
Who Is Subject To The FDCPA? The FDCPA does not apply to original creditors with whom you originally contracted with for a loan. It does apply to third party debt collectors who purchase old debt that is generally uncollectible because the statute of limitations has run, information pertaining to the debt is incorrect or it has already been paid. Those include:
- Collection Agencies
- Debt buyers, debt purchasers and zombie creditors
- Law firms that engage in high-volume debt collection work – meaning that they’re rubber stamping debt collection lawsuits
- Anyone “pretending” to be employed by a collection agency
- Skip-tracers (individuals trying to locate a debtor’s contact information or information about a debtor’s assets)
These third party debt collectors can purchase debt in “bundles” for pennies on the dollar because others have already tried to collect, but failed. Unfortunately, they try to intimidate honest and innocent people to pay debts by threatening them – which is strictly prohibited by the FDCPA.
What Third Party Debt Collectors Cannot Do. Under the FDCPA, creditors can not:
- Attempt to collect more debt than what is actually owed
- Call you at work
- Call you early in the morning or late at night
- Call your friends, neighbors and co-workers
- Harass you, intimidate you, lie to you or use obscene language
- Make anonymous calls or use false names
- Threaten you with lawsuits, arrests, or violence
- Threaten to garnish wages
- Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to harass you.
What Are The Penalties For Violating The FDCPA?
Third party debt collectors who violate the FDCPA can be liable for up to $1,000 in statutory damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs simply for harassing you – regardless of whether the debt was yours. They may also be held liable for other damages such as physical and emotional distress and lost wages and consumers may be able to obtain injunctive relief to make the abusive behavior stop.
Making The Harassment Stop – Once & For All
If you’ve been the victim of unfair debt collection practices in Florida, contact Disparti Law Group, P.A. We know first hand the unethical practices some creditors use to collect debts. We fight debt collectors for consumers just like you and can make third party debt collectors’ harassing behavior stop – once and for all.
The Disparti Law Group, P.A., of Tampa, Florida has been assisting victims of illegal third party debt collection practices for over 30 years in Tampa, Holiday, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Land O’Lakes, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and surrounding areas. Call us today at 866-596-7638 for a free consultation or contact us through our online contact form.