You’ve read about the criminal rights granted to American citizens. Some of the criminal rights include the right to a fair trial and the right not to self-incriminate.
For consumers, decades went by until the United States Congress enacted a landmark law granting consumers numerous protections against aggressive debt collection agencies. Until September of 1977, third party debt collectors ran roughshod over consumers by hounding them into submission.
With the passage of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Congress leveled the legal playing field between consumers and bill collectors.
The powerful federal law prohibits a large number of debt collection agency practices, as well as imposes the awarding of monetary damages if consumers can prove violations of the federal consumer protection law.
Since 1977, there have been a few tweaks to the FDCPA, but most of the original law remains firmly entrenched within the American legal system.
South Carolina’s FDCPA Laws
Soon after the passage of the FDCPA, several states followed suit by passing FDCPA laws that not only backed up the federal consumer protection law, but also filled in the legal blanks by clarifying some of the original FDCPA statutes.
Eventually, every state in the country enacted a version of the FDCPA, including the State of South Carolina. Under the federal FDCPA, third party debt collectors are permitted to call consumers at home between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm.
South Carolina’s FDCPA confirms the time constraint, as well as allows consumers to tape record phone messages with bill collectors. Referred to as a one party state, South Carolina requires the permission of only one person to record a phone conversation of any kind.
How Consumers are Protected under the FDCPA and South Carolina Collection Laws
If you send a formal notice to a bill collector demanding that the company stop calling you, but the agency continues to harass you over the phone, the FDCPA clearly states the debt collection agency has violated federal consumer protection law.
Third party debt collectors are also prohibited from making repeated calls and publishing your name on a “bad debt” list. Any threats received from a bill collector should motivate you to contact a licensed FDCPA lawyer immediately.
Like every other state, South Carolina has passed a law that limits debt collection on a breach of contract case to three years. This applies to both oral and written contracts.
South Carolina FDCPA laws also allow consumers to write a letter requesting the end of all forms of communication with a third party debt collector.
After a bill collector has received a cease and desist letter, it can only contact you again to confirm the company got the letter and that there will be no further forms of communication from the debt collection agency.
South Carolina permits the garnishment of wages to collect outstanding credit card and personal loan balances, but bill collectors must follow stringent guidelines to pay off delinquent consumer debts via wage garnishments.
Speak with an experienced consumer protection attorney today to learn how the FDCPA and South Carolina’s collection laws protect you against unethical debt collection agencies.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating South Carolina’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.