When dealing with debt, the last thing anyone needs is to struggle underneath the unfair practices of a debt collector.
To help combat this issue, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) came to be. Understanding how this works can help people in debt understand their rights and protections, too.
Pretending to be a figure of authority
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look at debt collector behaviors that are legal and illegal.
First, debt collectors cannot do anything that misleads, tricks, or outright lies to the person who owes money. Historically, debt collection tactics have involved misrepresentation and other misleading things.
For example, a debt collector on the collection team might pretend to be a member of law enforcement or an attorney. They could then use their apparent status as a way to intimidate someone, such as falsely informing them of an impending arrest or the liquidation of their house.
Misrepresenting the owed amount
Sometimes, debt collectors also lied or misrepresented the actual amount of money owed by the person in debt, too. They did this to create a sense of urgency, spurring the victim into paying back money they did not necessarily have at the time.
Use of aggressive tactics
Debt collectors have even gotten aggressive with their tactics before. This includes directly threatening a person who owes money with eviction or arrest or calling their house at all hours of the day and night. Of course, the FDCPA disallows these behaviors, too.
If a debt collector violates the FDCPA, it is possible to take them to court. If they lose, they will likely have to cover legal expenses for both parties, too.