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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed in 1977. It was passed in large part to curb deceptive and harassing collection tactics running rampant in the debt collection industry. Debt collectors are consistently at the top of the list for the most complained of companies in a given industry.

The FDCPA provides a check and balance to an otherwise rogue industry. At the outset, it is important to note that the definition of a debt collector does not include an original creditor collecting its own accounts receivable. For example, if you owe Chase Bank money, and an employee of Chase Bank is calling you to collect said debt, Chase is not bound by the strict requirements of the FDCPA. The FDCPA covers third party collectors. So, in the same scenario, if at some point Chase Bank sends the account to XYZ Collection Company, XYZ must comply with the FDCPA.

Oftentimes, a debt will be sold to a company that specializes in buying old debt. These companies are also governed by the FDCPA and must comply with its requirements.

The following is a list of some of the protections the FDCPA provides to consumers:

  • contacting a consumer that the collector knows is represented by an attorney;

  • threatening arrest or legal action that is either not permitted, or not actually contemplated by the collector;

  • communicating details of the debt with third parties (other than attorneys or the debtor’s spouse);

  • telephoning the consumer outside of the hours of 8:00AM and 9:00PM;

  • contacting the consumer at his or her place of employment after having been told that this conduct is prohibited;

  • failing to cease communication with the consumer after having been advised in writing to cease all communications;

  • seeking amounts not allowable by law (in Ohio this includes seeking attorney fees);

There are many, many more potential violations of the FDCPA. You should consult a consumer law attorney if you believe you are being harassed or deceived by a debt collector. If you are able to prove the collector violated the FDCPA, you are entitled to up to $1,000 in statutory damages, actual damages, possible punitive damages and attorney fees. After performing their own research, many consumers believe they are entitled to $1000 per violation, but this is not true. However, if properly prosecuted, an FDCPA claim may be worth more to the consumer than $1000 due to the potential to recover actual damages.

Need Debt Relief? Contact Ohio Debt Help Lawyesr with LHA Today.

The Luftman, Heck and Associates’ Ohio consumer law attorneys are here to help you and are committed to fighting for your legal rights and on behalf of your best interests. To receive a free, legal consultation today, call or email us at advice@ohiodebthelp.com.
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