The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was designed to protect consumers and make the consumer debt collection process more fair. This act has precise directions that determine how debts can be clarified and how debts can be challenged or disputed. It places limits on the actions and behaviors of third-party debt collectors who are trying to collect debts for another person or entity.
This act restricts the hours in which contact can be made and the frequency of contact when a collector is attempting to collect a debt. If you have been harassed by a debt collector in Arizona, you should seek the guidance of an FDCPA attorney to get the guidance that you need and to stop the harassment of repeated calls made by debt collectors.
Arizona FDCPA Laws and How They Work
Arizona FDCPA laws are designed to keep debt collectors from engaging in acts that are intrusive and deceptive when trying to collect for a creditor. According to Arizona law, a collection agency is anyone who is actively "engaged" in collecting actual or alleged debts. When conducting business, all collection agency employees must "deal openly, fairly and honestly" and cannot engage in any practices that are misleading or unfair. The law prohibits collection methods that are deemed to be "oppressive, vindictive, or illegal." Arizona law specifically prohibits several practices, including:
- Sending written communication that imitates legal documentation or judicial process from a lawyer, government entity, or court.
- Makes the representation that the debt collector is a legal practitioner or maintains a legal department unless the debt collector is indeed licensed to practice law.
- Misrepresents the amount of the debt or makes false allegations that indicate if the debt is not paid the debtor will incur additional fees or attempts to collect fees that the debtor is not obligated to pay.
- Gives the impression the debt collector represents the state or another governmental entity.
Differences in the General FDCPA and Arizona FDCPA Laws
There are some differences in the general FDCPA and the state laws. While the Arizona law is similar, it is a criminal statute. Because of this, it doesn't allow individuals to sue collection agencies for violating the law like the FDCPA permits them to do. Violating the Arizona FDCPA is a class 1 misdemeanor. Because it is of a criminal nature, any debtor who has been the victim of unfair practices can report the statute violation to the local county or city prosecutor for pursuit of criminal charges.
While the debtor cannot directly sue the debt collector for violating the law, the FDCPA does still apply in Arizona and gives debtors the right to sue for monetary damages using the federal statute.
Getting an FDCPA Attorney
If you have been the victim of scrupulous debt collection tactics, you should consult with an FDCPA attorney. An attorney can ensure your rights are protected and stop the debt collector in his tracks. Your attorney can also pursue civil action using the federal statute so you can ask for $1,000 in damages based on the violations committed by the collection agency.