Sunday, July 11, 2010

Protection From Debt Collectors: Part 5

This is Part 5 of a multi-part series.  Previously: Part 1 (identifying applicable Federal Law); Part 2 (allowable communications from FDCPA debt collectors); Part 3 (whether debt collectors can sue debtors/consumers); and Part 4 (information a debt collector must provide to the consumer).

Improper Actions by Debt Collectors

The following are usually illegal actions by committed by debt collectors who are governed by the Federal Law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

A.       Common but Unethical Actions by Debt Collectors

1.  making telephone calls without properly identifying himself or herself

a)  except as allowed and necessary to obtain location information from third parties

2.  annoying, abusing, or harassing persons by calling their telephone number repeatedly or causing their telephone to ring continually

3.  using obscene, profane, or other language that abuses the hearer

4.  falsely representing or implying that he or she is affiliated with the United States or any State or Government

5.  falsely representing or implying that he or she is an attorney

6.  falsely representing or implying the type, amount, or legal status of the debt

7.  threatening to take any action that is not legal or not actually intended to be taken

8.  communicating or threatening to communicate false credit information (such as to a credit reporting agency, etc.)

9.  using any false or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect a debt

10. using any false or presentation or deceptive means to collect information about a debtor

11. falsely representing or implying that the debt collector operates or is employed by a consumer credit reporting agency

12. falsely representing or implying that nonpayment of the debt will result in arrest, imprisonment, garnishment of wages, seizure of property, or sale of property, unless such action is lawful and actually intended by the debt collector or creditor

13. failing to communicate that information obtained by the debt collector will be used to help collect the debt

14. failing to disclose in  the initial communication that the debt collector is attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose

15. failing to disclose in communications, generally, that the communications are from a debt collector.

B.              Other Unethical Practices by Debt Collectors

1.  collecting or attempting to collect some sort of fee or charge unless it was authorized by the original debt agreement or as otherwise permitted by law

2.  falsely representing or implying that the debtor committed a crime or  other conduct to disgrace the him or herself

3.  using written communications which appear to be authorized by or belonging to the courts, a government agency, etc., but, in fact, are not

4.  advertising a debt as being for sale to force payment by the debtor

5.  using or threatening to use violence or other criminal means to harm debtor, the debtor's reputation, or the debtor's property

6.  publishing a list of debtors who allegedly refused to pay debts

a)   please note that did debt collectors can, however, communicate with consumer reporting agencies in this regard, as well as a few other entities specified by law

7.   using a post card to contact a debtor about a debt