Debt collection agencies comes hard after consumers primarily for one reason: Profit.
Original creditors such as Visa and US Bank either pay a fee to a third party debt collector for successfully settling a consumer debt or they sell debts for a fraction of the amount owed on an account. It is the second scenario that motivates bill collectors to use aggressive debt collection tactics.
However, according to a federal consumer protection law, you do not have to put up with the aggressive practices used by a third party debt collector.
With consumer pressure mounting, the United States Congress passed a landmark consumer protection law in September of 1977. Called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the consumer bill of rights makes it illegal for bill collectors to engage in a large number of actions.
Under the FDCPA, debt collection agencies cannot threaten consumers, nor can they use abusive language in both oral and written form.
What are the FDCPA Laws in North Dakota?
Congress made the FDCPA law to ensure every American consumer remained free of third party debt collector harassment. Although the comprehensive consumer protection law covers Americans in each of the 50 states, most state legislatures have passed FDCPA laws to bolster the legal protection granted by the federal law.
For example, every state has set a statute of limitations for the collection of outstanding consumer debts. In North Dakota, the statute of limitations for debt collections is six years, with state law allowing debt collection agencies to pursue debt collection efforts by any other legal mean after the statute of limitations has expired.
The statute of limitations for debt collections in North Dakota begins on the last day of activity on a credit card or personal loan account.
Illegal Harassment Techniques Outlawed by the FDCPA and State Collection Laws
According to the FDCPA, consumers have the right to send a formal notice to bill collectors that requests the companies stop contacting them by mail, email, phone, and text messages. If you send a cease and desist letter to a debt collection agency and the agency does not comply, they have violated one provision of the FDCPA.
Third party debt collectors are forbidden from making frequent phone calls to consumers, as well as refrain from contacting consumers in the workplace if they have “reason to know” calling a consumer at work is prohibited by an employer.
The FDCPA also forbids bill collectors from calling consumers at home between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am.
North Dakota’s FDCPA look similar to the provisions written into the federal FDCPA. Under FDCPA laws, an emphasis is placed on preventing overly aggressive behavior like threatening to seize private property and using profanity in an attempt to intimidate consumers.
North Dakota is a one party consent state. This means the consent of only one person participating in a phone conversation is required for the phone call to be tape recorded.
The one party consent provision allows you to tape record a phone call with a bill collector, which can lead to you generating enough evidence to file a claim against the debt collection agency.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating North Dakota’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.