Tennesseans, just like others all across the country, are protected by the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was enacted as a way to oversee debt collection practices across the country and to ensure that consumers are treated fairly.
The directions provided in the FDCPA are very precise, establishing set hours for debt collectors to call consumers between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and to limit their calling so they are not harassing the debtor. The laws also establish how a debt must be verified and how a consumer can request proof of a debt and how they can dispute the validity of a debt that they do not believe they owe or if they believe the amount of the debt is incorrect. If a collection agency deliberately violates these regulations, they can be punished with fines or other penalties.
Tennessee FDCPA Laws and How They Work
Consumers all across the country are protected by the FDCPA. However, states can enact their own laws to offer additional protection and more detailed guidelines. Tennessee legislators have enacted the Tennessee Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was designed to offer more guidance and more protection for consumers.
As an example, the Tennessee laws require that any debt collector attempting to collect debts in the state have the proper state licensing. It also establishes the amount of the surety bond that must be executed in order to have a license and operate a collection business. This effort is to help ensure the employees of such companies have undergone the proper training and know how to do their jobs correctly.
Differences in FDCPA and the Tennessee Protection Code
While the FDCPA regulations apply in Tennessee, the Tennessee Protection Code does offer additional details and some other specific guidelines that must be met. The laws indicate that a debt collector cannot misrepresent themselves as an attorney when they are not. Debt collectors cannot use documents that simulate legal forms that might make the debtor think they are facing court action or criminal charges for the delinquency of the debt.
The state also enforces the FDCPA, which clearly states that the consumer can request a debt to be validated which requires they be provided with evidence that the debt belongs to them. If the consumer doesn't believe the debt is legitimate, she can dispute it by following the procedure that is clearly indicated in the FDCPA documents.
Consult with a Tennessee FDCPA Attorney
If you have been harassed by a debt collector or if a debt collector has violated other rules of the FDCPA, such as calling outside the permitted hours or failing to provide you with the evidence of your debt, you should consult with an experienced Tennessee FDCPA attorney.
An attorney knowledgeable about the FDCPA and debt collection practices can help ensure you are treated fairly and put the harassing phone calls to an end once and for all. Schedule your consultation with an FDCPA attorney today.