The Fair Debt Collections Act - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
The Fair Debt Collections Act was added in 1972 as part of a consumer credit protection act. Prior to that time a consumer could be harassed over a debt he did not feel he owed, and was often subject to abusive debt collection practices such as threats, language and even violation of privacy. The reason such methods may have been employed by debt collectors was that their job is commission based, the consumer does not owe the debt collector but instead the company or creditor who hired him. Some resorted to abusive practices in order to collect debts.
Now, though the Fair Debt Collections Act is in place all too few consumers actually know what it is and what it can do to protect them. Since they do not know, unfair debt collection practices still take place.
The things you must know when it comes to the fair debt collection act is that first, if you feel you do not owe a debt and that it has been sent to collections unfairly you do as a consumer have rights to dispute the debt. In fact, any debt collector contacting a consumer is required to give notice of their right to dispute the debt with a written communication within 5 days of first contact.
If you the consumer dispute the debt, the collector must provide verification within 30 days or stop attempts to collect.
Debt collectors are required by law to identify themselves to the person who owes the debt each time they speak to them or mail them. They may not identify themselves as debt collectors to third parties. They may not even hint they are calling to about a debt except to the person owing the debt.
Debt Collectors may not contact a person about a debt if the person is known to be represented by an attorney such as those who are in the process of filing for bankruptcy.
Debt collectors are permitted to call only during reasonable waking hours and those are defined as 8 am - 9 pm local time.
Debt collectors must stop communications and efforts to collect a debt after a person informs them in writing that they do not intend to pay the debt and those they want no further communication concerning the debt. There are two exceptions to this rule and one is that they may communicate once more to inform the individual they will stop trying to collect the debt and to inform them of any steps they may take such as a civil suit.
The Fair Debt Collections Act is an attempt to acknowledge that though creditors do have rights, debt collection should adhere to certain guidelines and attempts to violate a person's privacy or to bully or abuse them into paying a debt are unacceptable both legally and professionally.
However, the fair debt collections act is there to protect the consumer the debt may remain an issue marring their record and influencing hopes of future credit. The individual should not only make sure they know their rights under the Fair Debt Collections Act but also understand how they can go about resolving the debt and salvaging his or her credit.