The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Part I

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal statute originally signed into law in the late 1970s that is designed to provide protection to consumers from unethical and/or illegal actions by debt collectors. At the time of the promulgation of the act, Congress stated that it had substantial evidence of bad practices by so-called debt collectors, including abuse of consumers, deception, and generally unfair collection practices. The driving force behind the act then, is to prevent this abuse and its widespread effect on the lives of Americans and society in general.

It helps to basically understand what happens when you don't pay your debt, and in the next post we will discuss what debt collectors can actually do under the act. Debt collectors and collection agencies have a few remedies available to them when you don't pay your debt that depend on the situation or the underlying debt. They can ultimately report that you haven't paid your debt to the credit reporting bureaus, which would reflect poorly on your credit score eventually.

They can also subsequently pursue legal remedies on the debt. These may include filing suit in state or federal court, where they can eventually secure a monetary judgment. With that judgment, they can attempt to collect on it with garnishments, citations, attachments, and bank levies. Finally, debt collectors who are collecting on secured property can repossess or foreclose on that secured property and hold the debtor responsible for any deficiency balance.