When you’re facing debt, it can feel like it’s taking over your entire life. Everywhere you turn, you’re faced with constant reminders of your financial issues. In many cases, these reminders are messages and visits from debt collectors. This near constant interaction can, on occasion, feel like harassment. While not every communication with debt collectors rises to this level, sometimes, that’s exactly what it is. To combat this unreasonable barrage, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed to protect debtors from being harassed by collection agents. Under this law, if you’re the victim of an FDCPA violation, you may be able to recover certain monetary damages.
The first step in putting together a successful FDCPA claim is finding the right attorney. To make sure Ohio debt collectors respect your rights, contact Luftman, Heck, & Associates. Whatever amount of debt you’re in, you still have rights that must be respected. If those rights are violated, it’s important to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
What Can’t a Debt Collector do Under the FDCPA?
The FDCPA makes it illegal for collection agencies to keep certain information from you. It also prohibits the agency from using any actions that are coercive or abusive to make you pay your debt. Furthermore, the Act limits whom a debt collector is allowed to contact about your finances.
Third-Party Communications Prohibited Under the FDCPA
In general, collection agencies are not allowed to talk to a third party about your debt. The FDCPA provides certain exceptions to this rule. Collection agents are allowed to contact:
- Your lawyer. If the collector knows that you have legal representation, they are not allowed to contact you without your permission;
- A credit reporting agency; and
- If the creditor is new to your case, the previous creditor.
The FDCPA Allows You to Control Certain Interactions With Your Collector
Under the FDCPA, your collection agency is also permitted to contact:
- Your spouse;
- Your parents, if you’re a minor; and
- Others who are a party to your debt.
Debt collectors are not permitted to continue making contact with these parties if you have sent them a letter asking them to stop.
Debt Collectors Are Granted Extended FDCPA Privileges If They Are Trying to Find You
Debt collection agencies are allowed more freedom in who they can contact if your location is unknown. In this scenario, the FDCPA still provides very strict guidelines to control those interactions. Those requirements include:
- Identification. The collector must state their name, and disclose that they are searching for information about your location.
- Confidentiality. The collector may not identify their employer unless they are asked. They may not disclose that you are in debt, or use words or marks to indicate your debt.
- Single Contact. If a collection agency is looking for you, they may only contact a third party once. They may only make contact again if that person requires them to, or if they believe information previously provided was false.
- Legal Representation. Collection agencies are not allowed to call third parties about your location if they know that an attorney represents you.
The FDCPA Also Protects You
The FDCPA also protects you during your interactions with a debt collector. When a collector first contacts you, they must inform you that they are calling to collect your debt. You must be made aware that any information you provide can be used for that purpose. In all calls after this, they must tell you both their name and the name of the agency.
Debt Collectors May Not Threaten Or Lie to You
A debt collection agency may not contact you at all if they know you have a lawyer. They may also not call you at unusual or inconvenient times. They are not allowed to call you at work if your employer does not allow such calls. Collectors may also not tell you anything that is false or threatening, such as:
- Harm will befall you or someone you know because of a failure to pay;
- You will be guilty of additional or unrelated crimes for failing to pay;
- The collection agent is an attorney, or represents communication from an attorney; or
- Threaten to take legal action that the company cannot or will not undertake.
Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected; Talk to a Lawyer Today
If you believe that a debt collector or a representative has violated the FDCPA regarding your financial situation, you may have the option of recovering financial compensation for their actions.
Reaching out to an attorney is the easiest way to make sure a debt collector isn’t infringing on your rights. Luftman, Heck & Associates can ensure you’re not taken advantage of during your Ohio debt collection case.
Reach out online, or at (888) 726-03181 to schedule your free consultation today.