The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, can provide damages to consumers who feel that they were harassed or treated badly by collection agencies. The FDCPA was created in 1977 by an act of Congress. It serves as protection against illegal and unethical practices that some collection companies employ against consumers. The FDCPA regulates both what is allowed and what is forbidden by collection companies. A collection agency is not allowed to contact consumers outside of certain times of day, use profanity or threats or contact others about a consumer’s debt.
Debt disclosure is the act of a debt collection agency to provide all necessary information to the customer regarding their debt. Debt disclosure generally refers to contacting the customer in written form to document the debt for the customer.
Debt disclosure is required per the FDCPA. The collection agency must notify the client five days after the initial contact and send a written notice to the client. This notice must contain the debt amount and the name of the creditor. It must also advise the customer that he or she has thirty days to contest the notice of debt. After this, the collection agency will assume that the notice is correct. If a third-party collection agency is contacting the customer, they must provide information about the original creditor if asked.
If the customer disputes the debt disclosure notice in writing, the collection agency must cease all contact attempts until they send the customer one of the following:
- A copy of a verification of the debt.
- A copy of the judgement on the debt.
- The address and name of the original creditor.
There are several ways that you can file a claim against a collection agency that violates the FDCPA. You can file in small claims court, with the FTC or with the state attorney general. However, we recommend that you file the claim in state court. You will have the chance to present all of your case materials, and you have the opportunity to collect the largest amount of damages possible. Usually, you will have one year from the date of the incident in which to file. You will have an assortment of attorneys who handle collection claims. These attorneys can be located by contacting the bar association or doing an online search of collection attorneys. Also, consumers can research collection attorneys on the internet.