The Fair Debt Collection Practice Act

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA)?

One of the issues that consumers are facing today and have been dealing with for a very long time is the “extent of pressure” creditors are willing to put on consumers to collect on a debt. On the one hand, a creditor has the right to enforce that debt. On the other hand, the enforcement of that right can very quickly become abusive.

This very abuse became the reason why Congress enacted the FDCPA which is “to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors” and “to protect consumers against debt collection abuses.”

Which Acts by a Debt Collector Violate FDCPA?

If a debt collector is trying to collect on a debt, there are specific things it cannot do:

  • Ask you pay more than what you owe,
  • Call repeatedly or continuously,
  • Use obscene, profane, or abusive language,
  • Call before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.,
  • Use or threaten to use violence if you do not pay the debt.

The list of prohibited acts is not exhaustive, and if your situation does not neatly fit into one of the items in the list or you are not sure whether a debt collector is acting outside the law please find a short form for a free creditor call log below.

Recent Developments

The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion vacating its earlier decision in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. and one more time reinforced consumer privacy right.

In Hunstein, a debt collector electronically transmitted sensitive information concerning a consumer’s debt to a third-party – commercial mail vendor including the vendor’s employees. The vendor then used the data to create, print, and mail a “dunning” letter to the consumer. Information transmitted included: 1. Status as a debtor 2. The exact balance of his debt and the entity to which it was owed, 3. The debt concerned his son’s medical treatment and 4. His son’s name.

The Court determined that Plaintiff had standing and sufficiently alleged a plausible cause of action. And even though, this is not where the fight ends, the Court is clear – if those facts are indeed true, our Consumer-Plaintiff will have a remedy.

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