The FDCPA Prohibits Certain Behaviors
Collection fees are prohibited per the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). Debt collection agencies may not charge you interest fees, or collection charges, except those amounts authorized by the agreement with the creditor to whom the debt is owed.
Debt collectors may not use any language, communication, or conduct to harass, oppress, or abuse any person. The FDCPA prohibits:
- Advertising your debt or publishing a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, except to a credit bureau.
- Using obscene or profane language.
- Repeatedly calling your telephone to annoy you.
- Contacting people without identifying themselves.
- Falsely implying that they are an attorney or government representative.
- Falsely implying that you have committed a crime by not paying a debt.
- Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau.
- Misrepresent the character, amount, or legal status of the debt.
A debt collector may not use threats when trying to collect a debt. This includes threats like the following:
- You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
- They will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or the creditor intends to do so, and they have the right to do so.
- Take any actions against you which are illegal.
- Violate any law in an effort to collect a debt.
A debt collector may not use deception when trying to collect a debt. This includes deceptions like the following:
- Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
- Send you tampered documents that look unofficial but are official documents from a court or government agency.
- Give false credit information about you to anyone.
- Use a fake or false name, unless that name is allowed by state law and properly registered with the state, if required.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Represents Fairness
Debt collectors may not treat you unfairly in attempting to collect a debt. This includes examples like the following:
- Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless allowed by law.
- Deposit a post-dated check more than 5 days before the date on the check, without giving you notice of when they intend to deposit it.
- Solicit a post-dated check in order to threaten criminal prosecution or threaten to cash the check early.
- Make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams.
- Take or threaten to take your property unless this can be done legally, including wrongfully repossessing your vehicle.
- Contact you by postcard.
- Debt collection agencies must apply your payments on multiple debts in the order you direct.
- They are prohibited from applying any payments you send in, to debts that you believe you do not owe.
This is just a brief summary of your legal rights and is not intended as a substitute for sound legal advice. If you have been subjected to any collection harassment, please contact our office.