Pensacola residents who are confronted with financial challenges and are the subject of constant various forms of contact from debt collectors might not realize that there are limits to what these collectors can legally do. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has rules against unfair practices. There are certain tactics that the debt collectors are not allowed to use to try and collect on a debt. These are known as unfair or unconscionable means. Knowing what they cannot do is vital to being fully protected under the law.
The debt collector cannot collect an amount except that which has been specifically authorized under the agreement. That includes any interest, fees, charges or expenses that go beyond the principal. The debt collector cannot accept a check or payment that is postdated by more than five days unless there has been notification in writing of the intent to deposit it a minimum of three and a maximum of 10 days before it is deposited. The debt collector cannot solicit a postdated check to threaten or institute criminal prosecution. It is not allowed to deposit or threaten to deposit a postdated check or other payment instrument before the date that is written on it. An unscrupulous debt collector might try to foment a change by concealing the real reason for the communication such as a collect call or a fee for a telegram.
There can be no threat for non-judicial action for property to be disabled or dispossessed if: there is no right to the property as collateral; there is no intention to take the property; or the property has been protected under the law from these actions. The debtor cannot be contacted via postcard. There cannot be language or symbols apart for the address of the debt collector on any communication between the debt collector and the debtor except in cases in which it is a debt collector indicates the service that they provide to collect a debt.
These strategies and others are often used by debt collectors to pressure a debtor into paying their consumer debt when they are protected from such behaviors. When there are financial challenges, one of the biggest concerns that debtors have is the method of contact and various unfair practices that collectors will use. Having legal assistance can ensure that the debtor is shielded by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and does not have to deal with these collection tactics.
Source: ftc.gov, "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -- 808. Unfair practices," accessed on Aug. 8, 2017