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Overview Of 15 USC 1692e – False Or Misleading Statements From A Debt Collector (Part 1)

Receiving letters or phone calls from a debt collector is never a welcomed experience. The threats and intimidation tactics that some debt collectors use can put the most financially savvy person on edge. But what you may not know is that the law prohibits debt collectors from doing and saying certain things when they contact you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was created to protect you from the abusive and unfair methods that some debt collectors use. Here’s more on that law and how it applies to debt collectors that use false or misleading statements.

What Does The Law Say?

The FDCPA limits what debt collectors can do when attempting to collect a debt. But not everyone that contacts you about a debt is considered a debt collector under the law. Generally, individuals or companies that are attempting to collect a debt for someone else will be considered a debt collector according to the FDCPA. What this means is that a credit card company calling you about an unpaid balance is not a debt collector under the law, but a collection agency calling you about delinquent medical bills will be.

False And Misleading Statements

The law says that when contacting you about a debt, a collector cannot make false or misleading statements. The FDCPA describes a number of different actions a debt collector is prohibited from making concerning false and misleading statements. The first eight are listed and described below:

1. Falsely claiming to be associated with the U.S. government. In order to get you to pay, a debt collector may claim to somehow be associated with or vouched for by the U.S. government. If they are in fact not affiliated with the U.S. government, then they may be breaking the law.

2. Lying about the amount or status of your debt. When a debt collector contacts you about a debt, they cannot lie about the amount. They also cannot misrepresent the debt’s status. What this means is that if the debt is only 2 months late, but they claim it is severely delinquent, then they may be in violation of the law.

3. Falsely claiming or implying that they are attorneys. Most debt collectors are not lawyers. They may claim to be in order to scare you into paying. Falsely claiming to be a lawyer may not only violate the FDCPA, but it may also be a criminal offense in some states.

4. Threatening legal action that cannot be taken. While it may be true that certain debt collectors can sue you if you do not pay, this is not the case for all debts. So, if a debt collector threatens to take a legal action against you that they cannot legally take or threaten to take an action that they do not intend on taking, then that may be a violation of the FDCPA.

5. Falsely stating or implying that if you do not pay, then you will be arrested or face having your property taken from you. A debt collector cannot threaten you with imprisonment. Doing so will likely result in them violating the FDCPA. They also cannot falsely claim that you will have your wages garnished, assets seized, or property attached. To be sure, collectors may be able to do those things, but they cannot threaten you with them unless they intend on carrying out those actions.

6. Falsely claiming that if your debt is sold or transferred that you will be unable to contest the debt. Debts are sold or assigned to someone else all the time. A collector may try to claim that unless you pay now, your debt may be sold to someone else, and you will then be unable to contest it. This is simply not true and if a collector tells you this then they may have broken the law.

7. Falsely claiming that you have committed a crime to intimidate or disgrace you into paying. If a debt collector tries to say that you have committed a crime by not paying, then you will know that they have crossed the line. Because failure to pay a debt is likely not a crime in any U.S. state, any claim to the contrary is likely not true and a violation of the FDCPA.

8. Reporting or threatening to report false credit information. Creditors and debt collectors can report valid unpaid debts to the credit agencies. They cannot however threaten to or report false information. Additionally, if you are disputing the debt, they cannot fail to disclose that fact to the credit agencies. As with almost all the FDCPA rules, making intentional false claims about a debt is strictly forbidden.

Retaining A Consumer Rights Lawyer In New York

To learn more about the law on debt collectors who make false and misleading statements in an attempt to collect a debt, you are advised to speak with a consumer rights lawyer. If you have endured harassment and abuse by a debt collector, then you can sue them to get compensation. However, this often calls for the involvement of an experienced consumer rights lawyer to make sure things go your way. The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg is dedicated to defending the rights of consumers. We will work diligently for you and seek all available remedies against those overzealous debt collectors who have harmed you. For a free case analysis, touch base with The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg by calling (888) 301-0584 or by contacting us online.