You do not need to experience a criminal arrest to understand the definition of Miranda rights. After all, numerous cop shows present criminal arrests, with the first thing out of police officer’s mouth being “You have the right to remain silent.”
Move to the debt collection industry and the same concept applies to consumers who owe money to creditors. Referred to as a mini Miranda, you have the legal right not to tell a third party debt collector anything.
he landmark Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the legal foundation for enforcing consumer mini Miranda rights.
About the FDCPA
Most consumers who know about the FDCPA understand the federal law punishes debt collectors that use abusive language and make direct and indirect threats. The law also prevents debt collectors from implementing deceptive debt collection tactics.
However, few consumers know about the mini Miranda clause within the FDCPA. The mini Miranda provision not only ensures you do not incriminate yourself, it also forces debt collectors to identify themselves and the company that employs them.
For example, a debt collector should start a phone conversation with “My name is Rachel and I work for XYZ debt collection agency. This phone call is an attempt to collect an outstanding debt from you.”
When a Debt Collector Must Invoke a Mini Miranda
Remember that a debt collector is required to inform you of the name of the debt collector and the reason for a phone call or letter the first time he or she contacts you. Also referred to as a legal disclaimer, a mini Miranda prevents a debt collector from deceiving you into revealing information that can be held against you in a lawsuit.
Whenever a third party debt collector fails to inform you of your mini Miranda rights, the individual and debt collection agency have violated the FDCPA. A mini Miranda also applies when you initiate contact with a third party debt collector.
If a debt collector fails to follow the mini Miranda guidelines as stated in the FDCPA, you might have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit.
Mini Miranda Does Not Apply to the Original Creditor
Although a third party debt collector must explain to you a mini Miranda, the original creditor only has to tell his or her name. Under the FDCPA, original creditors do not have to tell consumers not to incriminate themselves, as well as the right not to discuss the debt over the phone or via text messages.
Some third party debt collectors take advantage of the no mini Miranda requirement by impersonating original creditors. Of course, this is considered deception and it gives you the right to sue a debt collector.
The FDCPA allows consumers to recover actual damages from third party debt collectors that do not explain a mini Miranda. Actual damages consist of the suffering consumers experience because of physical and mental distress.
Complete the evaluation form to learn more about your mini Miranda rights.