Rogue Debt Collectors….You’ve Been Warned!
Debt collection is a legitimate business and endeavor. Creditors and debt collectors are entitled to recover what is rightly owed to them. The problem, however, arises when they go over the line to collect on debts. Threats of bodily harm or legal action, placing harassing phone calls, and unreasonable publication of a person’s debt are a mere sliver of the ways debt collectors can make a debtor’s life miserable. Horror stories abound of the wretched (or ratched, as the young folks would say) things collectors do.
Currently the law seems to have limited teeth…..too much gum. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has limits in scope (only applies to persons and entities collecting on debts owed to others) and damages (maximum of $1,000.00 per violation). The North Carolina Debt Collection Act applies to anyone collecting on a household, agricultural, or personal debt. Neither the FDCPA nor the NCDCA apply to the collection of commercial/business debts…………yikes!
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is becoming more active in addressing debt collection abuses. The CFPB has recently released several bulletins and action letters designed to promote fair, responsible, and legally appropriate debt collection. The bulletins discuss acts and practices that could subject collectors to legal action while the action letters can be used by consumers and debtors who wish to contact collectors. And the CFPB is now accepting debt collection complaints. Can enforcement actions and litigation be far behind? Hmmm..
The push by the CFPB could help encourage states to create and/or enhance their own debt collection laws. Hopefully it will further encourage consumers and debtors to hold rogue debt collectors responsible for their abuses. Collectors who play fair and go by the book should have nothing to worry about but those who go rogue should be warned. The Feds and consumer lawyers across the land could have more tools to take them down. And this would definitely be a good thing. If you doubt me contemplate the worlds of military lending and payday lending.
Click here for tips on dealing with debt collectors and here for tips on what to do if sued on a debt. The laws can be confusing and often the debt collectors have experienced attorneys representing them in these situations. On the other hand there are too few attorneys who regularly handle the defense and representation of consumers and debtors. If you have been the victim of harassing or unfair debt collection you should consult an experienced attorney to review your situation.
- Posted in: Consumer Law/Consumer Protection ♦ Debt Collection Defense ♦ Harrassing Debt Collections ♦ Legal News ♦ Unfair Debt Collection
- Tagged: attorney's fees, cease and desist, consumer, consumer financial protection bureau, creditor, debt buyer, debtor, do not contact, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, harassing debt collectors, North Carolina Debt Collection Act, statutory damages, unfair debt collection