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FDCPA regulates collection agencies’ conduct towards consumers, specifically prohibiting many unfair activities. Collection agencies in violation of the FDCPA can be sued for up to $1000 for each violation plus attorney fees. Here are some common violations:
A bill collector cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm. You can be called once a day and you can be called on weekends.
It is legal for collectors to call you at work. However, if you write a letter to the collection agency asking them to stop because their contact is jeapordizing your employment, any subsequent calls or letters are then illegal. Always send letters by certified mail/return receipt requested for proof of correspondence.
It is illegal for the collector to discuss your debt with a third party other than your spouse without your written or verbal permission, except to leave a message that he is trying to contact you.
The collection agents cannot misrepresent themselves and say that they are someone who they are not, like a friend or an attorney.
Collectors cannot make false threats. If a collector says he is going to take a specific action against you to enforce the debt, he has to do it. Collectors can, however, infer action and state their legal rights by prefacing their language with “may”, “could” or another similar word.
Within five days of the first telephone contact, a letter must be mailed to you at your last known address giving you information about your account and a chance to dispute the validity of the debt. A dispute must be made in writing, and collection activities have to stop until the debt is verified.
If you have retained an attorney, the collector must communicate with him/her until the attorney’s services are no longer being used.
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