In 2009, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) reported to have received about 119,549 complaints from borrowers suing creditors and third-party debt collectors for violation of their consumer rights.
In this article, let’s discuss some of the grounds for complaint as stated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA):
Harassment and threats.
If your collector is guilty of using obscene or profane language, threats, or false claims to force you to pay, then you should definitely take action and file a complaint to the FTC.
Name calling is something that can be reported to the FTC and Attorney General. But if its just name calling you won’t have much of a case unless you tape the conversations and the name calling is truly offensive and obscene.
Calling during off hours.
According to the FDPA,calls for the purpose of collecting on a debt can only be made between the hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m your time. Doesn’t matter if you are on the East coast and they are on the West coast.
If a call is made earlier than 8 am or later than 9 pm, it is a direct violation of the law unless the borrower gave his/her consent to be called upon during those hours.
It’s up to them to figure out your time zone. If for instance their last known address for you was on the West coast and you kept your old number. You must advise them when they call that you are no longer on the West coast. You DO NOT need to update your address at this time. You can be vague and just say you are now living on the East coast and they are calling outside of the legal calling times.
Just keep in mind at some point you will need to give them your current address so they can send you proof of the debt.
Disguises and lies.
Creditor and debt collectors are not allowed to represent their companies as part of another entity or a government organization to force payment.
Other unfair practices.
If debts have already been settled or paid, then a debt collection agency must not make any more attempts to collect. Some debt collection agencies may try to collect debts older than 7 years or paid debts from unsuspecting consumers. This is why it’s very important to validate the facts first before dealing with a debt collector. More information about your Rights Under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Empower Your Case
Is your creditor or debt collector guilty of a violation? If yes, what can you do? You can file a formal complaint to your State Attorney’s General Office and the FTC. Although the FTC does not directly respond to individual complaints, it has the power to completely shut down a company after receiving a sufficient number of complaints from consumers.
Before filing a complaint, make sure that it is valid. When a debt collector tries to contact you for the first time, ask the exact name of the person who is calling you, the agency he or she represents, the original creditor or account, as well as the day and time of the call.
Request the debt collection agency to send you a written notice so you can validate the information. You need to make sure that the payment being collected from you is accurate and that you are not being made to pay for debts that are not yours.
It is also recommended to record telephone conversations and other forms of correspondence between you and your debt collector so you will have solid proof in case the collector commits a violation of the FDCPA.