Imagine what you would do if a credit card company sold you a consumer debt of $10,000 for only $5,000. You would probably immediately start tracking down the consumer because of the $5,000 profit that is there for the easy taking.
Well, put the same shoe on the foot of a third party debt collector representative. The incredible financial incentive to get a consumer to pay off an entire debt for 50 cents on the dollar might motivate the bill collector to try some underhanded debt collection tactics.
Fortunately for consumers, the United States Congress put an end to debt collection agency shenanigans in 1977 by passing the groundbreaking Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Under the FDCPA, third party debt collectors are prohibited from implementing a large number of previously accepted debt collection practices.
What Does Massachusetts Bring to the FDCPA Table?
Comprehensive in scope, the FDCPA represents a nationwide federal law that covers every American consumer. Like other federal laws, the FDCPA left a few legal holes that states have filled in by passing their own version of FDCPA laws.
Massachusetts FDCPA laws prohibit “unfair, deceptive, and unreasonable” debt collection practices. FDCPA provisions apply to bill collectors, original creditors, and buyers of outstanding consumer debts that hire third parties to perform debt collection services.
Massachusetts is recognized as one of the leading states in strengthening the legal language written into the federal FDCPA. The state gives consumers much more leeway in the filing of civil lawsuits to receive monetary damages because of the aggressive tactics used by debt collection agencies.
Consumer Protections Granted by the FDCPA and Massachusetts Collection Laws
The federal FDCPA does much more than outlaw verbal abuse and the issuing of threats. It also covers more than deceptive debt collection techniques. The FDCPA prohibits third party debt collectors from publishing consumer names on bad debt lists.
Bill collectors are barred from taking money out of consumer bank accounts, without first obtaining a court sanction wage garnishment order. Moreover, you should carefully review the financial statements sent by a bill collector to prevent the illegal practice of charging you more than you really owe.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collection agency is allowed to call you at home or on your cell phone between 9 pm and 8 am. Massachusetts FDCPA laws goes further in restricting phone conversations between consumers and third party debt collectors.
State law dictates a bill collector can call you at home no more than two times within a seven-day period. You can submit a formal notice to request the ending of phone debt collection agency phone calls made to you at work.
Under Maryland FDCPA laws, third party debt collectors must identify who they are and who they represent. Massachusetts has established a statute of limitations running six years for the collection of credit card and personal loan balances.
Speak with a Massachusetts licensed FDCPA lawyer to learn more about how both federal and state FDCPA laws protect you against unlawful debt collection agency tactics.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Massachusetts’ FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of an FDCPA attorney. You may be able to seek up to $1,000 in damages for each violation of the FDCPA. An attorney will be able to help navigate you through the entire process.