Consumers who owe debts are protected by Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which provides specific details and guidelines for the debt collection process. The FDCPA sets regulations that explain how a debt collection agency must verify a debt and how a debtor can dispute a debt or the amount of the debt.
The Act also sets guidelines for when contact can be made as well as the frequency of the contact before it becomes considered harassment. The Act also indicates that collectors can be held liable for up to $1,000 in damages for violating the Act.
Wisconsin FDCPA Laws and How They Work
The FDCPA is applicable to every state in the United States including Wisconsin. States often enact additional laws to offer additional protection. In Wisconsin, state legislators enacted the Wisconsin Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The state Act basically is only a licensing statute, which requires debt collectors to obtain specific licenses to collect debts in the state.
The second piece of legislation, the Wisconsin State Annotated 427.101 to 427.105 also applies to creditors and debt collection agencies. These laws all combined are designed to protect Wisconsin consumers from unscrupulous creditors who can cause them much grief and stress. The Act also sets guidance for the different kinds of debts and the collection practices for those debts. Collection agencies cannot disclose information about your debt to third parties and if you ask them to not contact you at work, they must stop calling your place of business.
Differences in FDCPA and the Wisconsin Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
While the FDCPA offers very precise guidelines for debt collectors, specifying that they cannot call to collect debts between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., or cannot make repetitive contact which constitutes as harassment, there are additional protections offered by state laws. Specific procedures must be followed when debts are being collected, and collection agencies cannot misrepresent themselves or the debts. A debt collector cannot claim to be an attorney or a law officer or use paperwork that appears to be of a legal nature, such as from a court or law enforcement agency.
The laws are very precise, detailing how a consumer can dispute the validity of a debt and how the collection agency can validate that debt and what evidence must be provided. The statute defines what kinds of debts are covered by the legislation. There is also a specification for transactions for agricultural purposes. A separate collection statute focuses on dishonored checks. The statute covers the different debts and the collection processes as well as the different collection agencies.
Contact a Wisconsin FDCPA Attorney
If you have been harassed by debt collectors, you should consult with a Wisconsin FDCPA attorney. An attorney will ensure your rights are protected and help you gain control of the situation. If a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you can take civil action against them and receive up to $1,000 in compensation for damages. Your attorney will ensure the harassing phone calls stop and will make sure you are treated fairly throughout the debt collection process.
An attorney can help you choose the best route to take for delinquent debts, so schedule a consultation today.