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Overview Of 15 USC 1692f – Unfair Practices By Debt Collectors

Purchasing things on credit is commonplace for most people. With low or zero interest rates, it makes sense to make monthly payments instead of laying out large amounts of cash. But if the bill comes due and you are unable to pay, then you may receive a call or letter from a debt collector. Fortunately, the law limits what a debt collector can do when trying to get an unpaid bill satisfied. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created to protect you from unfair and deceptive tactics debt collectors use in order to harass and deceive you in to paying. The law describes specifically what a collector can and cannot do when they communicate with you. Here’s more on the unfair practices that debt collectors use and what you should do if you believe your rights have been violated.

Who Does The Law Apply To?

Not every person that is trying to collect on a debt will be considered a debt collector under the law. What this means is that if you receive calls or letters from someone at your doctor’s office about an unpaid balance, they may not be considered a debt collector under the FDCPA. To be sure, the laws described below only apply to individuals or companies that have been hired by the original creditor to collect on a debt.

Unfair Practices By Debt Collectors

Debt collectors sometimes use unfair tactics to get you to pay. The law says that a collector may not use unfair or unconscionable methods to collect any debt. The following tactics may be considered a violation of the law:

1. The collection of any amount that was not authorized by the agreement creating the debt. A collector may try to claim that you owe a debt that you never agreed to. No matter where the debt originated, there should always be some proof of the amount and your agreement to repay it. Unless they can show proof that you owe what they say you do, then you have a right to be skeptical. Under the law, you cannot be forced to pay an amount that you did not agree to.

2.Depositing a postdated check early. A post-dated check is a form of payment that can only be cashed at some point in the future. These checks are often used in order to make sure the funds are available at the time the check is cashed. If a collector receives a post-dated check from you and deposits it before the date on the check, then they may have violated the FDCPA.

3. Not notifying you before cashing a postdated check. According to the FDCPA, a debt collector is not allowed to accept a check that is postdated more than five days. The only exception is if the collector notifies you in writing that they are going to deposit the check between three and ten days before they deposit it. A collector that accepts a check that is postdated by more than five days and does not notify you before cashing it may be breaking the law.

4. Requesting a postdated check in order to threaten you with criminal prosecution. Debt collectors know that if you write a check that bounces, then you may be charged with a criminal offense. So, a collector may request that you pay by a postdated check and threaten that if it does not clear, then they will initiate criminal charges against you. This is nothing more than a shake down and it is forbidden by the FDCPA.

5. Causing you to be charged for communicating with a debt collector. If a debt collector contacts you and does not disclose who they are, or why they are communicating with you, and that results in you getting charged for returning their call, then that may violate the FDCPA. An example would be if you received a call from a debt collector who left you a message but did not identify themselves as a collector, you then call them back through a collect call and you end up being charged for that call. According to the FDCPA, this may be against the law.

6. Threatening to take away your property when they have no right to it. Taking your home, car, or money is something that must be done through the courts. In most cases it will involve court hearings and legal filings. If a collector threatens to take your property with no legal right to do so, then that may be considered an unfair practice and against the law.

7. Sending you a post card about your debt. While this may seem innocent, post cards are different from letters because anyone can read them without having to open them up. Anyone who wants to read what’s on a post card can simply flip it over to do so. A collector sending you a post card about your debt not only violates your privacy but may also be against the law.

8. Putting information about your debt on the outside of an envelope. If a collector sends you a letter about your debt, then the envelop cannot include any information about the debt or that it is from a debt collector. The only thing that can be on the envelop is the address of the collector and their business name. Additionally, the business name cannot indicate that the letter is from a debt collection company.

How To Handle Unfair Practices By A Debt Collector

Fairness is one the core concepts behind the FDCPA. Debt collectors have the right to pursue what they claim they are owed, but they cannot take advantage while doing so. If you believe that a collector has used unfair practices in order to satisfy a debt, then you may be entitled to damages under the law. It is important that you act fast, as there may be time limits on when you can file a claim under the FDCPA. Consulting with a consumer protection attorney as soon as possible is recommended to preserve your claim and to obtain justice.

New York Consumer Rights Lawyers Are Here To Help You

For good reason, the law in the United States limits what debt collectors can do to get money from you, which means that debt collectors can’t just do whatever they want. There are strong legal consequences for unfair debt collection practices. So, if you have fallen victim to wrongful debt collection efforts, there is something meaningful that you can do about it to make it stop. It often starts with getting in touch with an experienced consumer rights lawyer. The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, with many years of experience fighting for consumers’ rights, is here for you. To consult with The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, call (888) 301-0584 or contact us online.