Q & A
Can a debt collector call me at midnight?
No. The FDCPA and other state collection laws prohibit this type of conduct.
If I make partial payments on my debt will this prevent the creditor from suing me?
No. Unless you have a written contract with the collection agency in which they have promised not to sue you, making partial payments were not prevent them from suing you.
Can a debt collector come to my home to collect a debt?
Yes. There is nothing in the FDCPA which prohibits debt collector’s from coming to your home to collect a debt. However, debt collectors must abide by all other provisions of the FDCPA while at your home.
Can a debt collector threatened to sue me?
Yes. However, if the agency threatens to sue you and never does, this activity might violate the FDCPA.
Should I call the collection agency?
No. As a general rule, always communicate with a collection agency in writing and do not call them. Debt collectors are trained to intimidate consumers into paying debts and most consumers do not need the added stress of dealing with an aggressive debt collector.
What should I do if I feel I am being abused by a debt collector?
The first thing that a consumer should do when dealing with an abusive collector is to make a paper trail. The main problem in pursuing an FDCPA case is that there is not enough evidence to proceed. Start making a log of the dates, times and substance of each conversation. Also keep all of the letters the debt collector sends you. Finally, record the conversations after you tell the debt collector that you are going to record them. In many states it is illegal to record a conversation without the consent of the other party.
What remedies do I have for abusive practices?
The FDCPA allows consumers to sue collection agencies for abusive and deceptive practices. The FDCPA allows you to collect actual damages, statutory damages of up to $1,000.00, and attorney fees in successful litigation.
Where can I find a copy of the FDCPA?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is found at 15 USC §1692. A copy of the act can be obtained at the library.
What do I do if a collection agency sues me?
Try to find an attorney to help you. If you cannot, there are some simple steps you can take to defend yourself. First, always do what the court papers direct you to. If you are directed to file an answer to a complaint within twenty days, then do it. If you are supposed to go to court then go. Most collection suits are won by the collection agency because the consumer does not take any steps to defend. If only 20% of the consumers responded to the lawsuits, the profit margin of collection agencies would go in the toilet.