The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted as a way to oversee consumer debt collection practices while ensuring debtors were being treated fairly. The FDCPA provides instructions regarding the confirmation of debts by collection agencies and how consumers can dispute the validity of debts for which they are being billed.
The Act also specifies collectors can call to collect debts between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. while also limiting the frequency of contact. If you are a Maryland resident and you have been the victim of a debt collector who does not adhere to the FDCPA, you could be eligible to file a civil suit for $1,000 in damages. You should consult with an FDCPA attorney in Maryland so you can stop the debt collection calls and end the harassment!
Maryland FDCPA Laws and How They Work
The FDCPA laws apply to every state throughout the country, but states can also add their own laws which adds to the protection of the consumers. The Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act (MCDCA) is similar to the FDCPA but requires that debt collectors in Maryland be licensed by the state board. The state laws also apply to a broader group, specifically anyone who is collecting a debt that has arisen from a consumer transaction.
The MCDCA applies to individuals, estates, or any legal entity or business. The Act indicates that anyone trying to collect a debt must adhere to the MCDCA. Maryland's laws apply to any debt that has resulted from a person acquiring or seeking “real or personal property, services, money, or credit for personal, family, or household purposes.”
Differences in the FDCPA and Maryland FDCPA Laws
While some differences in the federal and state acts have already been noted, there are some additional differences as well. The state laws are very precise when it comes to what a debt collector is prohibited from doing when attempting to collect a debt.
The state laws indicate that at debt collector cannot threaten criminal prosecution, threaten with violence or force, threaten the disclosure of information that would negatively impact the debtor's creditworthiness or reputation if the collector knows it is false, communicate with the debtor or their family frequently or during unusual hours, or use language that is abusive or obscene. The collector is prohibited from trying to trick someone into paying a debt and cannot threaten to communicate with a third-party, per Maryland state law.
Consult with an FDCPA Attorney
If you have been the victim of a scrupulous debt collector, you should consult with a Maryland FDCPA attorney. If a debt collector has deliberately disclosed information about a debtor that they know is false, the debtor can file a civil suit for the damages that resulted because of the action. The FDCPA also allows for civil suits for up to $1,000 in damages from debt collectors who violated the federal act. A Maryland FDCPA attorney can make sure the harassment stops and ensure your rights are protected.