What Is the Most Common Violation of the FDCPA

FDCPA, have you heard of it? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created to make the process of dealing with debt collectors a little less of a nightmare. What all can they do and what can't they do? Did you know you can even get paid restitution if they break this federal law? Keep reading to shed some light on navigating through right and wrong of the FDCPA.

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Debt collectors can go to various lengths to get you to pay for your unpaid dues, but it’s important to remember that you have rights under the FDCPA and other Illinois debt collection laws that protect you from unfair and aggressive collection practices. 

Common violations of the FDCPA include excessive communication, misrepresentation, and the sharing of debt information with third parties, among others. If you believe that a debt collector has violated the law, you can file a complaint against them or sue them for damages.

It’s crucial to deal with debts—and the debt collectors that come with them—immediately, as these can impact your credit score. If you know you don’t have debt, you should send credit dispute letters to your credit bureau to rectify any wrong details on your report. This can be a tedious process, so it’s best to get help from credit repair companies in Chicago, like The Phenix Group, to get you back in good financial standing efficiently.

What Is the FDCPA?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that regulates the actions of third-party debt collectors who are collecting debts on behalf of another entity. It’s designed to ensure that consumers are subjected to a fair and non-aggressive collection process, limiting what collectors can and can’t do.

While the FDCPA is comprehensive, its scope is only limited to third-party debt collectors like those who work for a debt collection agency. It doesn’t consider original creditors, such as banks, loan institutions, etc., nor does it cover personal debts.

Common Violations of the FDCPA

It’s not unusual for debt collectors to violate the FDCPA. If you encounter a debt collector that violates the FDCPA, you can report it to and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can also sue the debt collector or the original creditor.

Here are some of the most common violations of the FDCPA to keep an eye out for when you’re dealing with a debt collector:

Communicating Excessively

The FDCPA prohibits excessive communication from debt collectors–this means that they can’t harass you with incessant phone calls. The law even states that they’re not allowed to communicate with you before 8:00 AM and after 9:00 PM (in your time zone).

You have the right to request debt collectors to stop communications with you. The FDCPA prohibits them from contacting you anymore after this (with some exceptions); if they do, they’d be violating the Act. A debt collector also isn’t allowed to use any profane, obscene, or abusive language when attempting to collect a debt. 

Misrepresenting Information

Debt collectors might lie about their identity to coerce you into making a payment. They could attempt to misrepresent themselves as attorneys, government officials, or original creditors, which is against the FDCPA. They might also try to collect a greater amount than what is owed or fees or charges that weren’t originally discussed by you and your original creditor–all of this is also illegal.

Contacting Third Parties

For the most part, debt collectors are only allowed to contact a third party, like a friend, neighbor, or employer, to locate you or obtain your contact information. In doing so, however, they’re also not allowed to harass these third-party entities to be able to reach you. The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from sharing your debt information with anyone else, unless you’ve given them express consent to do so.

Failing to Validate Debt

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is required to provide the consumer with written notice of the debt, including the following:

  • Name of the creditor

  • Amount of debt owed

  • That the debtor has the right to dispute the debt within thirty days (after which it will be considered valid)

If you decide to validate the debt, the collector isn’t allowed to continue collection procedures after the validation.

Threatening to Take Legal Action

Threatening to garnish wages, confiscate possessions, file a lawsuit, or any related action when they’re not allowed in Illinois violates the FDCPA, especially if the statute of limitations surrounding the debt has expired.

In Summary

Debt collectors might be violating the FDCPA while they’re trying to collect a debt from you. Protect yourself by understanding the law, being aware of your rights, and knowing what to do if you’re being subject to unlawful practices. Of course, the best way to deal with debt collectors is to settle undue payments–if you need help with this, or if you’ve successfully paid and need to fix your credit score, reach out to a reliable credit repair company like The Phenix Group!

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