Debt collection agencies have a powerful incentive to pursue the collection of outstanding consumer debts.
It’s called money.
Original creditors such as Visa and US Bank consider two options for recruiting third party debt collectors. They can source out the collection of a delinquent consumer debt and pay the bill collector a percentage of the amount owed.
The second option involves selling a debt for a fraction of the original balance. In either case, a debt collection agency is highly motivated to convince you that paying off an overdue credit card or personal loan balance is worth the financial hit.
However, a landmark federal consumer protection law does a great job of tempering the aggressive tactics used by debt collection agencies.
FDCPA Laws in Missouri
Passed by the United States Congress in 1977, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) represents a long list of prohibited third party debt collector practices. Congress wrote language into the FDCPA that covers every consumer doing business in the United States.
The comprehensive federal consumer protection law also contains provisions that allows consumers to sue bill collectors that step over the legal line. Although the FDCPA is considered the supreme consumer protection law of the United States, every one of the 50 states has passed FDCPA laws as well.
One of the most important provisions written into state FDCPA laws is called the statute of limitations. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for collecting delinquent consumer debts is 10 years.
However, a recent revision of Missouri FDCPA laws reduces the statute of limitations to five years in certain cases.
Prohibited Practices under the FDCPA and Missouri Collection Laws
The FDCPA makes it illegal for a debt collection agency to threaten you in any manner. This includes threatening to call your parents and/or threatening to seize your car in an attempt to take care of an outstanding consumer debt.
Third party debt collectors cannot call consumers repeatedly throughout the day and night. In fact, a bill collectors is limited in when it can call you, which runs from 8 am until 9 pm. Any phone calls outside of the 13-hour period is considered a violation of the FDCPA.
Missouri FDCPA laws also makes it unlawful for a debt collection agency to call you at home or on your cell phone between 9 pm and 8 am. However, Missouri FDCPA laws go a step further by permitting consumers to tape record phone calls made by debt collection agencies.
The Show Me State is a one party consent state, which means only one person involved in a phone call is needed to grant permission for the tape recording of the phone call. Missouri FDCPA laws emphasize the illegality of third party debt collectors impersonating the IRS and/or law enforcement officials.
Never let a bill collector harass you into paying off a delinquent debt. Speak with a Missouri licensed FDCPA lawyer today to ensure you receive all the rights granted by the federal consumer protection law.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Missouri’s 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.