In 1978, the federal government passed a law for consumers known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1978. The purpose of this law was to protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices. The FDCPA provides consumers with several protections such as the ability to sue a debt collector who violates the FDCPA in order to recover for actual and punitive damages as a result of violating the law. In addition, the law also states that the attorney’s fees will be paid by the debt collector, should you elect to sue them. Under the FDCPA, the following actions are punishable, either over the phone or through the mail:
- continue collection efforts after you write to them requesting that they stop contacting you. (We suggest you send these letters via certified mail).
- use any false or misleading statements when attempting to collect on a debt;
- misrepresent or inflate the amount of your debt;
- telephone calls made from an auto-dialer;
- indicate that papers sent to you are legal forms when they are not;
- engage in any other false, deceptive, or abusive conduct;
- use profane language when attempting to collect;
- represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau;
- fail to disclose that they are a debt collector;
- call you after 9:00 p.m. or before 8:00 a.m., without your consent;
- miscalculate interest, penalties, or other charges
- threaten to take an action they cannot take legally or do not intend to take;
- give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau;
- collect any amount greater than your debt, unless permitted by law.
Then, in 1991 the federal government passed another consumer protection law know as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The TCPA governs the conduct of telemarketers and certain debt collectors. Unless a consumer has previously provided their express consent, the TCPA restricts the use of automatic telephone dialing systems (also known as “auto-dialers”), prerecorded voice messages, SMS text messages, as well as the use of fax machines to send unsolicited advertisements. However, it is important to note that in order for a debt collector or telemarketer to maintain a volume operation, they must make thousands of telephone calls every day.
Therefore, if you are receiving telephone calls from a debt collector or telemarketer on your cellular telephone, there is a good chance that they are violating the TCPA law. In accordance with the TCPA, consumers are entitled to collect damages ranging from $500 to $1,500 for each unlawful call, fax, or text message. Under the TCPA, the following actions are punishable:
- debt collector and/or telemarketing calls made to your cellular telephone, which were initiated by the use of an auto dialer ( take note that a consumer is unlikely to know whether a call to his or her cellular telephone was initiated using an auto dialer since they often sound like any other phone call);
- debt collector and/or telemarketing calls made to your cellular telephone, which were initiated by an artificial voice or a prerecorded message (a call initiated using an auto dialer may, in fact, have a live person on the other end);
- sending unwanted fax messages, which solicit or promote a business (i.e. junk faxes); or
- sending unwanted business advertisements via text messages to your cellular telephone.
To learn about this post, or if you are in need of help regarding your debt, please feel free to contact Nationwide Debt Reduction, Inc. (NDR) toll free at 1-800-890-6658. Our professional advisors will be more than happy to answer your questions. If it is after hours (8:00 am -5:00 pm PST) (11:00 am – 8:00 pm EST) you may go onto our Contact Us website by clicking here, fill out a short form, and one of our advisors can get back to you when it is most convenient for you. We are located in the city of Mesa, Arizona in the Phoenix metropolitan area.