Chicago FDCPA Attorney
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was officially included in the Consumer Credit Protection Act on September 20, 1977 as a way to protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices. Not only does it establish very clear guidelines for what a creditor can and cannot do when carrying out their collection efforts, but it provides consumers with the opportunity to dispute and/or validate certain information about the debt that they owe.
For this reason, the FDCPA serves as an integral tool in protecting debtors from creditor harassment and the unfair or manipulative tactics of collection agencies. If you believe your rights under this federal act have been violated in any way, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer—as he can take the appropriate steps to file a formal complaint on your behalf.
Protecting Your Against Creditor Abuse
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the FDCPA was enacted with the intention of protecting consumers against unlawful creditor harassment or abuse. This means that a creditor or a collection agency cannot engage in certain behaviors while attempting to contact, or while speaking to, a debtor. If you have been subjected to any of the behavior below, contact our firm immediately.
In fact, United States Code §1692d states that all debt collectors are strictly prohibited from the following:
- Using profane or obscene language when speaking to a consumer
- Using force or violent threats to harm the consumer, property or reputation
- Publishing the names of anyone who owes debt
- Repeatedly calling a consumer with the intent to harass, abuse or annoy
- Make a call without disclosing their identity to the consumer
In accordance with United States Code §1692c, all creditors must follow strict guidelines when communicating with a debtor or their designated legal counsel.
This means that they are prohibited from:
- Placing a phone call outside the hours of 9 A.M. and 8 P.M
- Communicating with a debtor that has obtained legal representation
- Calling the debtor's place of employment when they have been asked not to
- Disclosing information about the individual's debt to anyone other than their attorney or a consumer reporting agency
They are also prohibited from continuing communication with the consumer after being notified in writing that the consumer has refused to pay the debt and/or that the consumer wishes to terminate further communications.
False or Misleading Representations
Finally, the FDCPA also protects consumers against false or misleading representations of the creditor's identity, the amount of the debt that they owe and/or the consequences that they could face if they fail to make a payment.
According to United States Code §1692e, a debt collector cannot:
- Intentionally misrepresent the amount of money that a debtor owes
- Imply that a consumer has committed a crime when they have not
- Use deceptive means to collect on a debt and/or obtain information
- Threaten to take action that cannot legally be taken
- Imply that nonpayment of debt will result in the consumer's arrest or imprisonment, the seizure of their property and/or the garnishment of their wages, unless such action is lawful
- Misrepresent their identity during any collection efforts
Resolving FDCPA Violations
The FDCPA is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission—which means that they alone have the authority to administratively enforce the regulations of the act. You are entitled to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if your rights under the FDCPA are ever violated by a debt collector, however, as well as with the state's attorney general and the Better Business Bureau.
In doing so, you can ensure that you will not be subjected to unfair practices again. It is also important to understand that you concurrently have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the creditor that has violated your rights, for damages of up to $1,000. Since the FDCPA imposes strict liability, you do not necessarily have to prove actual damages in order to secure compensation.
Interested in learning how our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can help you resolve a FDCPA-related matter? Contact our office today!