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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Protects Consumers

Many people today find themselves in debt, and some are surprised when a company they never heard of buys their debt and then pursues an aggressive collection strategy, which may include harassing phone calls or filing a lawsuit against the debtor. Debt buying is legal, but some collection practices are not.

“If you are being harassed by phone calls from debt collectors, you should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you,” said Brandon bankruptcy attorney O. Reginald Osenton. “Fending off debt collectors is often one of the first steps before declaring bankruptcy, and it is important to know the law, both to bring you peace of mind and as a strategy against your creditors.”

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1978 to protect consumers. The law prohibits certain methods of collecting debts and provides debtors with an avenue to learn the facts about their debt.

The FDCPA places a number of restrictions on debt collection companies. Debt collectors may not make telephone calls for the purposes of collecting a debt before 8 am or after 9 pm local time. They may not make repeated calls for the purpose of annoying or harassing the debtor, and if told that the phone number is for the debtor’s workplace and such calls are not allowed, they cannot continue to make calls.

The law further prohibits certain types of communication by mail because they might prove to be embarrassing to the recipient. Postcards are not allowed, and an envelope from a debt collector cannot display any message indicating that it contains a debt collection letter.

The FDCPA also makes it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive or profane language in collecting a debt or to misrepresent either the amount of the debt or their own identity. For instance, debt collectors cannot falsely represent themselves as attorneys or law enforcement officers or falsely threaten a lawsuit or arrest.

“The FDCPA allows consumers to file a lawsuit against debt collectors that violate the law,” said Osenton. “People facing unmanageable debt should speak to a qualified bankruptcy attorney to learn about their options.”

To learn more visit, http://www.brandonlawoffice.com.

Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 10:27 pm under News and Press.
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