May 3, 2024

FDCPA Violations List Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

FDCPA Violations List Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) ZumaZip Settle Debt

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is designed to safeguard consumers from abusive and harassing conduct by debt collectors. Initially enacted by Congress in 1977, the FDCPA has undergone several revisions aimed at enhancing consumer protections. This article, presented by, offers insight into common FDCPA violations perpetrated by debt collectors and outlines the procedure for reporting such infractions.

The FDCPA serves as a comprehensive legal framework governing interactions between debt collectors and consumers. Compliance with its stipulations is mandatory for all debt collection entities. Should a debt collector’s actions contravene any provisions outlined in the FDCPA, affected consumers retain the right to file a formal complaint, potentially resulting in compensatory measures.

Prompt reporting of FDCPA violations to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is imperative. This allows the FTC to conduct investigations and intervene to halt illicit practices by debt collectors. By reporting violations, individuals not only safeguard their own rights but also contribute to the protection of fellow consumers.

Facing a debt lawsuit? Settle your debt quickly with ZumaZip Settle’s help.

Look out for these common FDCPA violations

We’ve prepared an FDCPA violations list you should be aware of when communicating with a debt collector at any stage of the debt collection process.

A debt collector is in violation of the FDCPA if they:

  • Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Call you at work when your employer prohibits such communication
  • Tell your family or friends that you owe a debt
  • Continue to contact you when you have explicitly asked them not to
  • Take actions considered harassment or abuse under the FDCPA
  • Claim they will sell your debt in order to coerce you to pay
  • Cause your phone to ring repeatedly with the intent to annoy
  • Fail to disclose that they are a debt collector
  • Make false claims about who they are
  • Threaten to seize your house or other property
  • Threaten to take legal action that they cannot, or do not plan to, take

Below, we will break down each of these FDCPA violations in detail.Debt collectors cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Under 15 U.S.C. § 805 (a)(1), debt collectors cannot call you at an unusual time. The law specifies that debt collectors must assume your appropriate contact hours are after 8 a.m. or before 9 p.m. in your time zone.

If your debt collector begins calling you at 7:30 a.m. or 10 p.m., you can file a complaint. An exception will apply if you’re currently traveling outside your usual time zone. The creditor wouldn’t have a way of knowing that.

Debt collectors cannot call you at work when your employer asks them not to

Your workplace expects you to spend your time doing your job, not resolving personal issues. However, some creditors will contact you at your place of employment if they discover where you work.

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from contacting you at work if you tell them your employer doesn’t want the calls. You can reference 15 U.S.C. § 805 (a)(3) in your complaint.

Debt collectors cannot tell your family or friends you owe a debt

Under 15 U.S.C. § 805 (b), debt collectors cannot tell other people you owe a debt, including your spouse, best friend, or child. The only exceptions to this rule are your attorney (if you have one) or a credit reporting agency. They can also communicate the facts of your debt to their own attorneys.

Thus, if your teenager tells you that ABC Bank called and said you owed them money, you have the right to complain to the FTC.

Debt collectors cannot continue to contact you when you ask them not to

You have the right to ask a debt collector to stop calling you and sending you letters or emails. If you ask for no contact, you must do so via a written note, per 15 U.S.C. § 805 (c).

Your debt collector must comply with your request. However, they can reinitiate contact if they intend to take further actions against you, like filing a legal Complaint.

Debt collectors cannot take actions considered harassment or abuse under the FDCPA

Debt collectors cannot take actions that are abusive or harassing against consumers. Under 15 U.S.C. § 806, these activities are illegal:

  • Threatening to use violence or other criminal means to harm you, your reputation, or your property
  • Using obscene or foul language when communicating with you
  • Publishing a list of your outstanding debts where the general public can read it
  • Advertising the sale of your debt to get you to pay it
  • Repeatedly calling you throughout the day to harass you or other people at your location
  • Calling you and failing to identify who they are properly

All these actions are on the FDCPA violations list, and you’ll need to report them.

Let’s consider an example.

Example: Jane owes her credit card company, Free for All Finance, $500. She stopped making payments when she lost her job. Free for All Finance decides to harass Jane until she pays up. Since the company is a little crazy, it asks all its collectors to call Jane and scream obscenities at her at least once daily. After the third call from Free for All Finance, Jane files a complaint with the FTC. The FTC conducts an investigation, then fines Free for All Finance $1,000 for each time it called Jane.

Debt collectors cannot advertise to sell your debt in order to coerce you to pay it

15 U.S.C. § 806(4) states that debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to sell your debt to another debt collection agency or organization in order to pressure you into paying it off to them.

Debt collectors cannot cause your phone to ring repeatedly with the intent to annoy

According to 15 U.S.C. § 806(5), it is considered harassment for a debt collector to call your phone repeatedly, even if you answer, with the underlying intent to annoy or abuse. There are also laws against robocalling, which often involves receiving a pre-recorded voicemail from a debt collection agency.

Debt collectors must disclose who they are

Whenever a debt collector contacts you, whether it be in writing, over the phone, over social media, email or in person, they must disclose that they are a debt collector and they are contacting you for the purpose of collecting a debt. This law is clearly stated in 15 U.S.C. § 806(6).

Debt collectors cannot make false claims about who they are

When communicating with you about a debt, collectors must be very careful. They can’t pretend to be someone else, such as a law enforcement agent. They also can’t pretend to be affiliated with the government in any way.

If you receive a letter from a debt collector on a form that looks like a legal process, be very wary. Under 15 U.S.C. § 807, creditors must be clear about their identities and can’t act under the pretense of the law.

Debt collectors cannot threaten to seize your house or other property

Debt collectors cannot make threats to which they don’t have the legal right. If your house or other property doesn’t secure your debt, they can’t threaten to seize them. Doing so is a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 808(6).

If your debt collector insinuates that they will take your property if you don’t pay your bill, be very careful. Inform the collector that they don’t have the right to say that to you, then file a complaint.

Debt collectors can be scary, but they must obey the law

Receiving calls from a debt collector can be anxiety-provoking. You don’t want your collector to report you to the credit reporting bureaus or sue you for your debt. Pay close attention to how the collector communicates with you. If their actions are FDCPA violations, protect your rights and file a complaint with the FTC.

ZumaZip can help you fight off debt collectors

Regardless of your stage in the debt collection process, Zumazip offers assistance.

Upon initial contact from debt collectors, you can defend yourself by dispatching a Debt Validation Letter. This formal communication obliges collectors to substantiate the validity of the debt before further contact or legal action can proceed.

If you have already been served with a lawsuit regarding a debt, you can effectively respond using ZumaZip’s Answer form. This document allows you to address each claim made against you and assert your affirmative defenses. Additionally, ZumaZip simplifies the process by aiding in the filing of your Answer across all 50 states.

In the event that you acknowledge the debt and possess the means to settle it, consider initiating discussions with the collectors’ legal representation regarding a settlement offer. ZumaZip Settle streamlines this negotiation process, facilitating the exchange of settlement proposals without direct engagement with collectors.

Empowering yourself with knowledge of your rights is paramount in combatting debt collectors on equal footing. Armed with this knowledge, consumers like you can effectively challenge and prevail against debt collectors both within and outside the courtroom.

What is ZumaZip?

ZumaZip is a convenient solution designed to streamline your response to a debt collection lawsuit. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when you use ZumaZip:

Firstly, you’ll access our user-friendly web application, which guides you through the process step by step. You’ll be prompted to answer a series of questions related to your specific situation. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, you have the option to either print out the finalized forms and mail them to the appropriate courts yourself, or you can opt to utilize ZumaZip’s services to file them on your behalf. Additionally, if you choose this option, an attorney will review your document for added peace of mind.

If you’re seeking guidance on how to effectively respond to a debt collection lawsuit, ZumaZip can provide the assistance you need. Feel free to explore our FAQs for more information on what ZumaZip has to offer.

What if I haven’t been sued yet?

If you’ve only received a collections notice, but not a lawsuit, the best way to respond is with a Debt Validation Letter. When a debt collector contacts you in any way, whether it’s by phone or mail, you can respond by formally requesting a debt validation with a Debt Validation Letter . This letter notifies the collector that you dispute the debt and forces them to provide proof you owe the debt. They can’t call you or continue collecting until they provide validation of the debt. This flowchart shows how you can use a Debt Validation Letter to win.

Get started with a Debt Validation Letter here.

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Here’s a list of guides on how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in each state:

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Hey there! Facing off against a debt collector can feel like a daunting challenge, but fear not! We’re here to help you navigate through it all with our handy guides designed to assist you in beating every debt collector you encounter. Whether you’re facing a new lawsuit or dealing with a persistent collector, we’ve got your back. Stay positive, stay informed, and let’s tackle this together!

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