The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to personal, family, and household debts. This includes money you owe for the purchase of a car, for medical care, or for charge accounts. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices while collecting these debts. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act:
Debt collectors may contact you only between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Debt collectors may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves.
Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you.
Debt collectors may not lie when collecting debts, such as falsely implying that you have committed a crime.
Debt collectors must identify themselves to you on the phone.
Debt collectors must stop contacting you if you ask them to do so in writing.
False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that:
Debt collectors may not:
Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not:
You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can’t prove that you suffered actual damages. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs. A group of people also may sue a debt collector as part of a class action lawsuit and recover money for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector’s net worth, whichever amount is lower. Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away if you owe it.