May 3, 2024

What Debt Collectors Cannot Do — FDCPA Explained

What Debt Collectors Cannot Do FDCPA Explained ZumaZip Settle Debt

If you’re sued for a debt and the collector violated the FDCPA, use to respond in 15 minutes and win your lawsuit.

Debt collectors are often associated with aggressive, discourteous, and occasionally intimidating behavior in their pursuit of repayment for purportedly overdue accounts. It is imperative to recognize that individuals need not endure harassing or threatening communication via phone calls, letters, social media, etc. Indeed, there exist specific safeguards against overly assertive debt collection practices delineated in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Enacted by Congress, the FDCPA is a federal statute designed to shield individuals from unethical and abusive debt collection endeavors.

Regrettably, notwithstanding the protective measures outlined in the FDCPA, certain debt collectors flout the law and resort to unethical strategies, banking on individuals’ unawareness of their rights under this federal legislation.

Outlined below are various tactics and ploys prohibited for use by debt collectors when communicating with individuals. Familiarity with both permissible and impermissible actions by debt collectors is crucial for several reasons, including the potential pursuit of compensatory damages through civil litigation in cases where a debt collector violates the provisions of the FDCPA.

Debt Collectors Cannot Harass You

Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you or your loved ones. For example, debt collectors are expressly prohibited, pursuant to the FDCPA, from engaging in these actions:

  • Threatening to harm you or members of your family physically
  • Threatening to harm you or members of your family financially
  • Using obscene or profane language during phone calls or other correspondence
  • Calling you repeatedly
  • Calling you prior to 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. without your permission
  • Calling you at work

Debt Collectors Cannot Pretend to Work for a Government Agency

Debt collectors are prohibited from pretending to work for a government agency like the IRS, FBI, or any other agency. In addition, debt collectors are prohibited from claiming that they work for a consumer reporting agency.

Debt Collectors Cannot Threaten to Have You Arrested

Debt collection companies are prohibited from falsely claiming that you committed a crime or threaten to have you arrested if you fail to repay the amount allegedly owed.

First and foremost, debt collectors cannot issue arrest warrants or have you put in jail. Second, if someone fails to repay credit card debt, a car loan, or a medical bill is not a criminal offense.

Debt Collectors Cannot Publicly Shame or Embarass You

Debt collectors are prohibited from trying to publicly shame you into paying money that you allegedly owe. For example, they cannot publish the names of people who owe money and they cannot discuss the alleged debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.

Debt Collectors Cannot Attempt to Collect a Debt That You Do Not Actually Owe

It is surprisingly common for a debt collector to pursue an outstanding debt from the wrong person. This oversight happens because a creditor may have sold, or even re-sold, the debt to a collection agency, which in turn may have sold it to another collection agency. The multiple sales and transfers of debts often lead to administrative errors, including the wrong person being identified as the alleged debtor. This is why it is so important to demand Information about the alleged debt to confirm that you are the person who actually owes the debt.

Within five days of first contacting you, a debt collector is required to send you a written notice that expressly states the following:

  • The amount you owe
  • To whom you owe
  • How to make your payment.

If you aren’t sure whether you owe a debt, send a letter to the collector via certified mail with a return receipt asking for more information. Make sure you do not assume any responsibility for the alleged outstanding debt. If you need assistance in drafting this type of letter, utilize the resources and information available through ZumaZip.

If you need assistance on how to best respond to a debt collection lawsuit, consider utilizing ZumaZip

Overview of the Protections Provided by the FDCPA

Here is a summary of the protections and rights afforded to you under the FDCPA.

  • Debt collectors cannot harass you
  • Debt collectors cannot threaten to arrest you
  • Debt collectors cannot mislead you and say they are contacting you on behalf of a federal agency
  • Never assume responsibility for the alleged amount owed
  • Make sure to request information about the alleged debt from the company to ensure you actually owe the debt.

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.

How to Answer a Summons for debt collection in all 50 states

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

Guides on how to beat every debt collector

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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Below are some resources on how to use an arbitration clause to your advantage and win a debt lawsuit.

Federal Debt Collection Laws Can Protect You

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