FDCPA is a commonly used acronym for the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These regulations, outlined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), attempt to prevent debt collectors from abusively, deceptively, or unfairly trying to recover money from individuals. Examples of FDCPA violations include communicating by way of postcards, interacting with consumers who have obtained legal representation, and using obscene language.
Some FDCPA violations are outlined to prevent debt collectors from acting in ways that threaten a person's privacy. For example, attempts to collect debt or to correspond with individuals about such cases cannot be made using postcards. Other mailed correspondence is prohibited from displaying any indication on the exterior of the package that it is being sent with regards to debt collection efforts.
Contacting a consumer at an inappropriate time or place can result in FDCPA violations. Contact is supposed to be reasonably convenient for an individual. Approaching a person in a location where such matters are not usually handled is prohibited. FDCPA rules also outline the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. as times of convenience. Furthermore, if a debt collector is aware that an employer has policies against employees dealing with such matters in the workplace, the debt collector may not contact an individual under those circumstances.
Another of the FDCPA violations that consumers may be unaware of is personal contact by creditors after they are notified of legal representation. The principle is similar to that experienced in bankruptcy, where creditors must stop demanding money once a person has filed a case. Likewise, when a person notifies a creditor that she has hired a lawyer to handle the debt collection matter between them, the creditor or collector must interact with the attorney. Even if the debtor does not provide full contact details, if he has the name and can obtain an address or telephone number, he should do so. An exception to this no personal contact rule applies when the attorney does not respond to the creditor in a reasonable time.
If a person sends a written statement asking a debt collector to stop contacting him for refusing to pay the amount in question, FDCPA violations will occur when further attempts to collect are made. After receiving this sort of written communication, there are only a limited number of reasons a debt collector may contact a person again. These include to confirm that communication will end and to notify the consumer of future actions that will be taken to seek remedy.
Debt collection techniques that are harassing or abusive constitute FDCPA violations. The FTC outlines such behaviors as those that will cause harm to a person, his reputation, or his property. Obscene language may not be used to encourage people to pay debts. Furthermore, telephone communication cannot be used in a manner that is designed to annoy any respondent at a given number.