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Answers to Your FDCPA Questions

Q: What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

A: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection. It was enacted to stop the illegal, abusive and menacing tactics that a debt collector, collection agency or creditor may use in their attempts to collect an overdue amount from you.

Q: What debts are covered under the FCDPA?

A: Personal, family, and household debts are covered under the Act. This includes money owed for medical care, for the purchase of a car or for credit card accounts.

Q: How may a debt collector contact you?

A: A collector may contact you several ways. In person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. A debt collector may not contact you at work if the collector knows that this is against your employer’s policies. If your employer does not allow this type of call at work and you have informed the collector of this and request that they not call you at work, and they continue to call, that is a Fair Debt Law violation. Also, a debt collector may not contact you at unreasonable times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree.

Q: May a debt collector contact any person other than you concerning your debt?

A: If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live and work. A debt collector may contact a friend, neighbor or family member ONE TIME to find out your address, phone number or place of employment to assist in locating you, however this is limited to that one time only and if they calls continue, or any personal information concerning you or your debt is divulged to the 3rd party, it is illegal under the FDCPA. In most cases, the collector is not permitted to tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money. If you have an attorney, the debt collector may not contact anyone other than your attorney.

Q: What types of debt collection practices are prohibited?

A: Debt collectors may not harass or abuse any person. For example, debt collectors may not misleadingly:

       arrow  Imply that they are attorneys or government representatives.
       arrow  Imply that you have committed a crime.
       arrow  Represent that they work for a credit bureau.
       arrow  Misrepresent the amount of your debt.
       arrow  Misrepresent the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt.
       arrow  Iindicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not.
       arrow  Indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are.

Debt collectors also may not state that:

       arrow  You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
       arrow  They will seize, garnish, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency              intends to do so, and it is legal to do so.
       arrow  Actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you, which legally may not be taken, or              which they do not intend to take.
       arrow  Give false credit information about you to anyone.
       arrow  Use a false name.

Q: Can you stop a debt collector from contacting you?

A: You may stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop. Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact. Another exception is that the agency may notify you if the debt collector or creditor intends to take some specific action.

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