Debt collectors use a wide variety of resources to collect payment from people, and email communications are not off-limits under the law. However, email debt collection communications are still subject to applicable federal and state restrictions, and debt collectors are prohibited from using email in an abusive and unfair manner.
If you believe you have been receiving debt collection emails that violate your consumer rights, you should contact an experienced Ohio debt lawyer. An attorney can help you determine whether debt collection emails run afoul of federal and state laws and what you can do to put a stop to them.
Fair Debt Collection and Emails
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that governs the conduct of debt collectors and places restrictions on how they can go about collecting payments. Although the FDCPA doesn’t specifically identify email communications, these are still covered by the law. Therefore, debt collectors cannot use email in an abusive or deceptive way that violates the FDCPA.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector cannot use email to harass people by threatening them with violence or harm, using obscene language, or sending public emails that list the names of people who fail to pay. Debt collectors are not permitted to make false statements by email, such as pose as attorneys or government representatives, state that a person has committed a crime by failing to make payments, misrepresent the amount owed, or introduce themselves as a credit reporting company. Additionally, collectors are prohibited by the FDCPA from using email to intimidate people with threats of arrest, seizure, garnishment, or the sale of one’s property for failure to pay a debt.
Finally, collectors cannot send an email that looks like a formal document from a court or government agency, or, in an email, use a false company name.
There are limits, via FDCPA restrictions, with regard to the individuals that debt collectors may contact, via email or otherwise, regarding a debt. The individuals that may be contacted include the debtor and his or her spouse, parent (if the debtor is a minor), guardian, executor, or administrator; the debtor’s attorney; a consumer reporting agency that is permitted by law to receive these email communications; the creditor; and the creditor’s attorney.
Time and Manner Restrictions on Collection Emails
Under the FDCPA, collectors may send collection emails, but only within specific time periods, similar to other means of collecting debt like phone calls, in-person, or fax. Collectors can contact you by email during reasonable hours such as between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, if employee emails are deemed not confidential by an employer, then a collector may be in violation of the FDCPA by sending you collection emails through your work email address. The same principle likely applies if an employer prohibits employees from receiving any non-work related emails through their work email addresses.
Experienced Ohio Debt Attorneys
You may be able to put a stop to harassing collection emails through the FDCPA by filing a lawsuit to obtain compensation or filing a complaint with federal or state consumer protection agencies. If you believe you have been the victim of abusive or deceptive email practices by debt collectors, you should talk to an experienced debt attorney in Ohio who can help you assert your rights. Additionally, you may be able to engage in productive debt settlements using the FDCPA violations as leverage through a savvy consumer law attorney.
To discuss your options, you should contact Luftman, Heck & Associates for help. Our attorneys can help you analyze your case and come up with the best course of action. Contact us at (888) 726-3181 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, initial consultation with one of our experienced Ohio debt lawyers.