For most of American history, creditors and debt collection agencies pretty much had free reign over how the companies handled the collection of outstanding consumer debts.
Although blatant extortion and other types of intimidating tactics became unlawful, debt collection agencies were still in complete control of settling delinquent consumer credit card and personal accounts.
That all changed on September 20, 1977, when the United States Congress passed the historically significant Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Not only does the FDCPA ban aggressive debt collection practices, it also prohibits numerous actions that were previously considered ethical under both state and federal laws. The FDCPA gives consumers the option to seek monetary damages because of the illegal tactics used by third party debt collectors.
What are the FDCPA Laws in Tennessee?
The primary purpose of the FDCPA is to provide legal protections for American consumers that live in each of the 50 states. For example, a bill collector cannot threaten to imprison a consumer in Arizona and the same debt collection agency cannot threaten to put a consumer in jail who lives in Maryland.
Despite the comprehensive nature of the federal FDCPA, many states have passed FDCPA laws that have strengthened the language written into the federal consumer protection law. One of the most important state provisions found in FDCPA laws refers to the statute of limitations.
In the Volunteer State, third party debt collectors have six years to file a lawsuit against consumers that owe money on credit card and personal loan accounts.
Protections Granted by Federal and Tennessee FDCPA Laws
In addition to banning harassing debt collection practices, the FDCPA also contains provisions that prohibit more nuanced bill collector behavior. Did you know a debt collection agency is forbidden to call you at work if it has a “reason to know” your employer forbids such phone calls.
All you have to do is inform a third party debt collector about your employer’s phone call policy to establish a “reason to know.” Under the FDCPA, a bill collector cannot impersonate the IRS or a law enforcement official to coerce you into handing over cash to settle a delinquent debt.
You also do not have to accept a debt collection agency’s phone calls made to third parties that describe your debt situation.
Tennessee is one of the few states that have not put into law additional protections than the protections granted by the FDCPA. In Tennessee, third party debt collectors must obtain a state license, as well as pay a fee to operate in the state.
Other than licensing requirements, Tennessee FDCPA laws mirror the provisions written into the federal FDCPA. When you work with a Tennessee licensed FDCPA lawyer, he or she will use the federal FDCPA as the standard for pursuing a civil lawsuit.
Speak with an experienced FDCPA attorney today to ensure you receive every legal protection granted by the landmark consumer protection law.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating Tennessee’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.