Highlights of the Fair Debt Collections Act

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The Fair Debt Collections Act is a statute that was added in 1978 as Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The purposes of the act are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumer with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information. All of these provisions, especially the third provision, are enforced to help consumers ensure that the information credit bureaus have about them is accurate. The act has also create guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines the rights of consumer involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the act.

The Fair Debt Collections Act is sometimes used in conjunction with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A variety of conduct is prohibited and required by the Fair Debt Collections Act. The behavior that is prohibited is failure to cease communication upon request, communication with third parties, seeking unjustified amounts, contact by embarrassing media, violating the defined hours for phone contact, misrepresentation or deceit, publishing the consumer’s name or address, threatening arrest or legal action, using abusive or profane language, failure to cease communication upon request and much more. These behaviors that are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collections Act are behaviors that cannot be performed when collecting a debt. The specified calling times are 8am to 9pm local time.

The Fair Debt Collections Act also requires that debt collectors follow a certain amount of required conduct when attempting to collect debts. The required behavior is to identify themselves and notify the customer; give the name and the address of the original creditor; notify the consumer of their to dispute the debt; provide verification of the debt and file a lawsuit in a proper venue. The Fair Debt Collections Act is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and its powers under the Federal Trade Commission Act. There are certain stipulations that a debt collector must tell the consumer about their debt. Those stipulations are:

  • How much money you reportedly owe
  • The name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed
  • That unless you, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, dispute the validity of the debt or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed valid by the debt collector
  • That if you dispute the debt in full or in part within that thirty day period, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt and mail it to the consumer
  • That upon your written request within the thirty day period, the debt collector will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor

The Fair Debt Collections Act helps to protect the citizens of the United States from inappropriate debt collection and harassment from debt collectors. Under the Fair Debt Collections Act citizens of the country have the legal right to file a lawsuit against debt collectors if the consumer is harassed over the phone or in any other way.

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