Often abbreviated as FDCPA, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that guides the behavior of third-party debt collectors who attempt to collect money for their clients. The FDCPA rules of debt collection apply to debts like medical bills and auto loans, but they don’t affect business debts.
What Does the FDCPA Say About Debt Collection?
The Federal Trade Commission offers an excellent FAQ section with information on what tactics are allowed and which are not within the law. For example, the FTC shares that debt collectors cannot call you any time they want.
“Debt collectors can’t contact you at inconvenient times or places. They can’t contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree to it. They also can’t contact you at work if they’re told you’re not allowed to get calls there.”
Consumers often report that debt collectors try to bombard their targets with excessive calls in an attempt to convince the debtor (or alleged debtor) to pay a debt. They hope that the harassment will convince the person to pay a debt.
Not only can this behavior prove harmful to the health and well-being of the debtor, but it can also lead to financial ruin when people pay debts they don’t even legally owe.
Debt Collectors Can Text You for Payment
One of the interesting facets of modern debt collection is the fact that collectors can actually send text messages. You might assume that text messages are off-limits to debt collectors, but there is nothing in the FDCPA that specifically outlaws or allows text message collection efforts.
The Balance shares:
“The law, which was passed in 1977, doesn’t address many forms of modern communications. Text messaging, for example, wasn’t introduced until 1992, 15 years after the FDCPA was passed and the law hasn’t been updated to address collection activity via text message and modern communication mediums.”
However, The Balance goes on to reveal that text messages may fall under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which prohibits phone communications without the recipient’s expressed consent. However, the lack of clarity on text message-based communications has led to arguments about text messages and debt collection.
“Debt collectors have argued that listing a cell phone number on your credit card or loan application is essentially giving consent to be contacted at that number for issues involving your account – an argument that’s been accepted in courts, at least from companies sending telemarketing messages.”
There have been lawsuits regarding text messaging and debt collection, but the FDCPA hasn’t been updated to include guidance on text messaging.
However, although the law is somewhat vague regarding text messaging, there are several important facets of the law that guide other behavior. Some of those rules include:
- No abusive or profane language.
- No excessive phone calls.
- No calling outside of 8 AM and 9 PM local time.
Do You Need Help With Harassment from a Debt Collector?
Did you know that a debt collector cannot speak with you directly if they are aware that you have an attorney? If you feel your rights have been violated, you may have legal remedies available under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act. Contact Suburban Legal Group for assistance fighting debt collectors.
DISCLAIMER: All information on this website are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as legal advice. Suburban Legal Group PC shall not be liable for any errors or inaccuracies contained herein, or any actions taken in reliance thereon.