The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) won approval in Congress in 1977. The consumer protection amendment was established to protect consumers from debt collection practices that were deemed as abusive.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) puts together a report on an annual basis as an update regarding Fair Debt Collection Practices Act enforcement activities. The report includes the complaints the FTC has fielded regarding debt collection practices that are either illegal, unethical and/or abusive. The FTC reported nearly 80,000 complaints in 2009.
Since 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been in charge of making new rules related to the act, but the FTC still operates as the enforcement authority.
The FDCPA not only protects consumers, it allows them to dispute their debt. There is actually a long list of items the FDCPA does to protect and serve consumers. Debt collectors are prohibited from calling consumers any time before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. If the consumer wishes for the collection agency to cease contacting him or her, the agency must obey the wish. If a consumer has hired an attorney to deal with the issue, the agency is not allowed to contact the consumer.
Some of the items in the act would seem rather obvious, but there were predatory organizations that required the measures to be written into law. For instance, a collection agency can’t misrepresent the debt or use deceptive tactics to collect on the debt. Some agencies would say they were tied to law enforcement or an attorney’s office in an effort to get a payment. A collection agent can never use abusive language or profanity in his or her collection attempt.
Another measure that no reputable agency would resort to includes a rule that says they can’t use any tactics that could potentially embarrass the debt holder, like mailing a postcard or contacting people he or she works with about the debt. A debt collection agency can also never threaten to have the debtor arrested.
Reputable collection agencies have always identified themselves honestly in every communication attempt. They have also always notified the debtor that the information gained through the communication would be used to collect debt only. All of these practices are now part of the FDCPA.
So which debt collectors have to comply with the rules set forth in the FDCPA? The rules apply to any person or company that collects debts for other companies on a regular basis. All employees of debt collection agencies and debt buyers must comply with every rule in the FDCPA. There are also state laws that apply to debt collection practices, which means a consumer who feels that they have been abused by a debt collection agency, yet not to the extent that it was a violation of the FDCPA, might still have ground to stand on if the state has tougher laws of its own.
Given the severity of the fines and the public backlash involved in violating the FDCPA, companies are wise to bring in a third party like Omega RMS, llc., to collect money owed to them. Omega has four decades of experience in collecting debt, ethically, honestly, professionally and efficiently.