The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Declaration Of Purpose:
An abundant evidence of the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair credit collection practices by many debt collectors led to the declaration of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The purpose of the Act, approved in September 1977, was to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors and to promote consistent state action to protect consumers against debt collection abuses and invasions of individual privacy.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act laid down specific guidelines pertaining to the following procedures:
1. Acquisition Of Information [Sec 804]
Any debt collector seeking to acquire location information of a consumer would identify himself and his purpose correctly and if the need arises also disclose his employer. At no point during the inquiry process shall the collector state or imply that a consumer owes any debt, as this shall amount to invasion of individual privacy. Once the enquiry process has been completed, any correspondence thereafter shall be with the attorney of the said consumer only.
2. Communication With the Consumer [Sec 805]
The debt collector may not communicate with the consumer at any such place or time, which may be known to be inconvenient to the consumer. If the collector has information that an attorney represents the consumer, then any communication with the consumer should be done only if the attorney fails to respond to the collector's communication.
3. Abuse Or Harassment Of The Consumer [Sec 806]
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. A collector may not resort to acts of violence or threats thereof in order to coerce the consumer into obliging to the collector.
4. Misrepresentation For Debt Collection [Sec 807]
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. The debt collector may not represent or in any way implicate that nonpayment of the debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, attachment or sale of any property of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action.
5. Debt Validation [Sec 809]
Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer, the debt collector shall send the consumer a written notice containing the exact amount of debt, the name of the creditor and the due date of payment.
6. Civil Liability [Sec 813]
Any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this act is liable to such person in an amount equal to the extent of actual damage to the consumer and may be liable to pay the consumer the defendant attorney's fees reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides guidelines for all kinds of debt collection. For all debt collectors, be in-house or collection agencies, it is must to understand the act and stay within the legally permitted boundaries. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has enough provisions for collection agencies and departments to help them get the dues from the debtors legally.
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