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What Restrictions Does the FDCPA Place on Debt Collectors?

Posted on in Debt Collection

IL debt lawyerCreditors lend money to debtors under the presumption that these debts will be repaid. If a debtor fails to make the required payments, creditors can take action to collect the debts that are owed. However, there are a variety of laws that apply to debt collection, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Creditors and collection agencies will need to make sure they are in compliance with these laws, and they can make sure they are doing so by working with an experienced debt collection attorney.

Restrictions on Debt Collection Activities

In general, the FDCPA prohibits creditors and debt collectors from engaging in unfair or harassing actions against debtors. The restrictions that apply under this law include:

  • When a debtor can be contacted - Creditors cannot contact debtors at times that are known to be inconvenient. The law specifically prohibits calls made to a debtor before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. in the time zone where the debtor is located. However, there are some cases where creditors may receive permission from a court or a debtor to contact a person outside of the hours that are normally allowed.
  • Harassment or abuse - Debt collectors cannot attempt to intimidate debtors into complying with their requirements. Prohibited actions include threats of violence, the use of obscene language, coercion through threats to ruin a person’s reputation, or repeatedly contacting a debtor without providing identifying information or describing the types of debts that are being collected.
  • False or misleading statements - A debt collector cannot lie about their identity, such as by claiming to be a law enforcement officer or government official. They cannot falsely report the amount that is owed or make any untrue statements about whether a person will be arrested or face criminal prosecution if they do not pay the debts owed.
  • Unfair debt collection practices - Creditors cannot charge unauthorized fees when collecting debts, and any additional charges must be allowed under the original contract with the debtor or any applicable laws. Creditors are also prohibited from publicly revealing that a person owes debts or the amount that is due, such as by including this information on a postcard sent to a debtor.
  • Who can be contacted - A creditor may communicate directly with a debtor. This communication will usually be limited to contacting a debtor at home or via a personal phone number or email address. In some cases, a creditor may be able to contact a debtor at their place of employment, although this will be prohibited if a debtor notifies a creditor that they should not be contacted in this manner. If a debtor retains an attorney, creditors or debt collectors must communicate with the attorney rather than contacting the debtor directly.

Contact Our Chicago Creditors’ Rights Attorneys

While creditors have a number of options for collecting debts, they may run into trouble if they violate the FDCPA or other laws that apply to them. Creditors can ensure they are in compliance with all applicable laws by working with an attorney. Walinski & Associates, P.C. can provide legal representation for creditors, and we can help pursue legal action against debtors who have failed to meet their obligations. Contact our Chicago debt collection lawyers today at 312-704-0771 to learn how we can address your legal needs.

Sources:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/debt-collection-faqs

https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/fdcpa

Illinois Creditors Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois State Bar Association
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