Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
If you owe money and are considering bankruptcy, you may be receiving phone calls regarding your debts from creditors or collection companies on behalf of creditors. Whether or not you decide to declare bankruptcy, you have legal rights under the law that debt collectors and creditors must follow or face harsh penalties.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was established to ensure that debtors are protected from abusive or deceptive actions from creditors and bill collectors regarding their attempts to collect a debt. The law can not eliminate the debt that is owed, however, the law limits the way that creditors may attempt to collect the debt. The limitations placed on debt collectors and creditors are severe, and if a creditor violates the law, the debtor may actually sue the creditor for substantial damages.
Debt Collector Disclosure Requirements
By law, under the FDCPA, creditors must tell a debtor the following information regarding their debt:
- The name of the creditor
- The amount owed
- That you can request the name and address of the original creditor
- That you have a legal right to dispute the debt
The FDCPA has strict restrictions regarding when and how a debt collector or creditor may attempt to contact a debtor regarding a debt, including the following:
- Hour and Location. Debt collectors are never allowed to contact a debtor at an unusual time or place. Specifically, a debt collector is never allowed to contact a debtor before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. A debt collector also may never contact a debtor at work if they know a debtor is not allowed to receive calls at their place of employment.
- No type of harassment is allowed by debt collectors towards debtors.
- Attorney Representation. If a debtor is being represented by an attorney with respect to a debt, and the debt collector or creditor knows that they are represented, they must only communicate with your attorney regarding the debt, and cease all contact with a debtor.
- Debt collectors must always tell the truth regarding the amount owed, who they are, or what their ability is regarding the collection of the debt. For example, a debt collector is not allowed to claim that a debtor will be arrested. And if the debt is old enough that you can’t be sued for it, they must tell you that also.
- Engage in Illegal Practices. A debt collector may never collect fees, interest or any other type of charges that are illegal.
A debtor is allowed at any time, in writing, to tell a creditor or debt collector to cease all communications regarding the debt.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are considering bankruptcy due to the overwhelming debt and creditor collection calls you are receiving, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to understand your rights and options. If you have been illegally harassed by debt collectors, you have legal rights under the FDCPA, and can actually file a lawsuit against these unscrupulous companies. Contact the West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 for a consultation.