Anytime an individual falls behind on paying bills, it can be stressful. Most creditors will provide a few months of leeway and try to work with the consumer to bring accounts current before submitting them to a debt collection agency. However, if you fail to make arrangements or bring your accounts current then you may be faced with some of the additional stress that comes from different creditors who violate consumer protection laws with various antics. Each and every day there are individuals who fall victim to these tactics because they don’t know that it’s a violation of the laws put in place by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Here are five common ways creditors violate consumer protection laws:
1. Relentless Calling. Creditors should contact consumers no more than once per 24 hour period. Often third-party debt collection agencies that thrive on violating protection laws will call relentlessly up to 10 times throughout a day.
2. Contact at Work. Most employers do not allow their employees to receive personal calls at work unless it is an absolute emergency. In the day of mobile technology, it is rare for any employer to allow their staff to be on the phone. It is common for creditors to attempt to collect a debt by contacting you at work however it is also against consumer protection laws.
3. Threatening Harm or Police Action. Some creditors may employ aggressive tactics such as threatening the use of violence or police action over the phone. It is not uncommon for an aggressive collector to attempt to scare consumer into action. In the United States you cannot be arrested or imprisoned for debt. Such threats are a direct violation of these consumer protection laws.
4. Claims to be An Attorney. Another common tactic is when these individuals attempt to claim that they are from a law firm. More often than not, they may even use an extension of a legitimate firm and also state that firm’s name. However, when you contact that firm directly you will find out that there is not a debt collection attempt through them.
5. Add on Unauthorized Interest and Fees. Debt amounts can increase substantially as creditors continue to tack on their own interest and fees that are not authorized. Each state has its own guidelines which creditors have to follow. Additionally, some debts may not be pursued if you no longer live in that specific state.
In many cases depending on the type of harassment or violations it is possible to sue a debt collection company. Additionally, the fastest way to eliminate these calls altogether is to work with a legal representative to help consolidate debts and create a repayment plan to get you back on the right track financially.