Is Your Creditor Violating the Fair Debt Collection Act?
In 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published an extensive manual detailing the procedures it uses to oversee that creditors are complying with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers against the potentially abusive and harassing behavior of creditors who are trying to collect a debt. The Fair Debt Collection Act prohibits creditors from certain behaviors. For example, it prohibits them from using profane language to threats when attempting to collect a debt. However, it also requires that creditors do certain things, like clearly identify themselves when contacting debtors.
What the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Will Assess
According to the CFPB’s regulation manual, if it deems an entity a debt collector, then the CFPB will assess the following when determining whether that creditor has violated the FDCPA. They will examine whether the creditor:
- Has failed to disclose it’s identity to the debtor
- Uses profane, racist, threatening or otherwise abusive language in its communications with a debtor
- Tries to charge the debtor for communications, such as by collect calls
- Has tried to contact the debtor during inconvenient or inappropriate times, which are legally defined as the hours between 9 P.M. and 8 A.M.
- Published the name or other personal information associated with the debtor on a “bad debt list”
- Has adequate policies in place to prevent the disclosure of a debtor’s debt to third parties (other than the debtor’s spouse or attorney)
They will also examine whether the debt collector:
- Has falsely represented itself by posing as an attorney or law enforcement agent
- Sends post cards to notify the debtor of the debt
Contact Our Office Today If You Feel Your Creditors Have Violated the Fair Debt Collection Act
Consumers who feel that creditors have deceived, abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated them should contact our offices immediately. They should set up either a phone consultation or appointment at one of our Washington or Oregon consumer law offices. If we are cannot help and you believe that creditors have wronged you, the next step to take is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the CFPB. Regulators take these complaints seriously. They will thoroughly investigate claims of FDCPA violations. In addition, they will hold violators responsible for their illegal behaviors.