What Is FDCPA?
Being in debt is sadly an experience far too common to Americans these days, and having to live in fear of debt collectors hounding you day and night only makes it even more traumatizing. Debt collectors make their living off getting people to repay their debts as soon as possible. Many of them will stop at nothing to get you to repay your debt, using intimidation, threats, and other bullying tactics to scare you into falling in line. However, you have rights as a creditor that protect you from underhanded practices under a federal law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA for short.
The experienced FDCPA attorneys at Halvorsen Klote are here to answer all your questions about dealing with aggressive debt collectors, and are ready to stand with you and help you assert your legal rights. Call them today at 1-877-51-HKLAW to set up a free, no-questions-asked consultation.
The History of the FDCPA
The FDCPA was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter back in 1977. It is designed to protect consumers from so-called "loan shark" tactics from debt collectors. These are defined as "any business for which the principal purpose is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect debts owed". The FDPCA only applies to consumer debt, such as from credit cards or mortgages, and not business debt.
Third-party groups who purchase debt from original creditors and then collect it themselves exist in a sort of gray area when it comes to following FDPCA regulations. A recent Supreme Court case (Henson v. Santander Consumer USA) has established that these groups are not subject to FDCPA regulations, but lower federal court cases such as Barbato v. Crown have argued that some of these third-party companies meet the "principal purpose" standard, and as such are governed by the FDCPA.
The FDCPA is regularly updated to reflect changes in technology: when it was first passed, for instance, text messaging was not invented, and email was in its infancy. The most recent updates to the law were announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) earlier in 2020, and are scheduled to take effect later in 2021.
Your Rights Under The FDPCA
The FDPCA grants citizens a number of rights and privileges that are designed to protect their privacy and promote peace of mind. Some of the most notable of these rights include:
- Debt collectors cannot call you between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm, or during "inconvenient times" for those who work unconventional hours
- They cannot contact anyone other than your spouse about your debt
- If you have an FDCPA attorney, all communication must go through them
- They cannot call you at work more than once a day
- They may not repeatedly call you in a harassing manner
- They cannot threaten you (for example, they cannot say they will reposess your car, physically harm you, or send you to jail if you do not pay your debt)
- They always must identify themselves as a debt collection agency
- They cannot misrepresent the amount of the debt, or whether it has passed the statute of limitations
- They cannot collect more than they owe on a debt
New FDCPA regulations that come into force later in 2021 will provide guidelines for debt collectors that contact people through other means, such as via text message, email, or direct messages on social media. Collectors can now call you no more than seven times a week per debt, and if you have a conversation with them they cannot contact you for one week following that chat. However, that limit does not apply to texts or so-called "limited contact messages", and they can contact you this way without prior consent.
Contact An Experienced St. Louis FDCPA Law Firm
Even though you have a large amount of rights as a debtor under the FDCPA, this does not mean that debt collectors will still use underhanded tactics to try and intimidate you. At Halvorsen Klote, our attorneys have seen many cases of collection agencies who still act as if they are loan sharks. We have helped many people across St. Louis deal with debt collectors who have violated the FDCPA and are ready to listen to your case. Call us at 877-51-HKLAW today to schedule a free, confidential case review, or feel free to fill our our online contact form.