Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1978 to protect consumers from unscrupulous debt collectors. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using harassment, intimidation, and abuse when attempting to collect a debt.
Of course, many collection agencies still harass consumers hoping that they will pay to avoid further disturbances. The business philosophy of harassing the consumer to the extent that further subjection to collection efforts is worse than actually paying the debt is an effective and profitable tool for unethical debt collectors.
It is unfortunate that these creditors take advantage of the fact that many people are unaware of their rights as consumers, rights which they possess regardless of whether they actually owe the debt in the process of collection. Many consumers do not know the FDCPA allows them to sue debt collectors who harass them.
Not only does a consumer have rights under the FDCPA that allow them to sue a debt collector, but these rights also entitle them to money damages and attorneys fees.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse anyone they contact. Some examples of harassment are the following:
- Repetitious phone calls intended to annoy, abuse, or harass any person answering the phone;
- Obscene or profane language;
- Threats of violence or harm;
- Published lists of consumers who fail to pay; and
- Calls to a consumer where the caller does not properly identify itself as a debt collector.
The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from using false, deceptive, or misleading practices, including the following:
- Falsely stating the amount of the debt;
- Calls to a consumer where the caller falsely identifies itself as an attorney, not a debt collector;
- Threats to have the alleged debtor arrested;
- Threats to take actions that are illegal; and
- Threats to take actions without the true intention to actually take such action.
Consumers should keep a file of all correspondence received from a debt collector. They should also keep a file of all correspondence they send to a debt collector. Keeping a log of all phone calls with a summary of the date and time, as well as notes of each call is a simple and useful practice. These records may help if any dispute with a debt collector arises, and it is necessary to consult with an attorney.
Theron Morrison’s assistance and expertise may be indispensable when dealing with debt collectors who repeatedly choose to break the law. The FDCPA allows Utah residents to sue debt collectors who harass, abuse or intimidate consumers when collecting a debt.
Call 801.456.9933 today to schedule a FREE consultation. The FDCPA also allows successful plaintiffs to receive money damages and attorneys fees for violations. We are Utah’s only statewide bankruptcy law firm and have locations in Ogden, Logan, Sandy, and St. George to serve the residents of the counties of Weber, Cache, Salt Lake, Utah, Morgan, Davis, Washington, and surrounding areas.