(These are the most common FDCPA violations)
A debt collector MAY NOT (despite what they say):
- Contact a third party about your debt for any purpose other than to locate you.
- Identity the debt collection company name to a 3rd party without being expressly asked.
- Disclose to a third party a debt is allegedly owed.
- Communicate with a single third party more than once.
- Communicate or attempt to communicate with you at inconvenient times or places.
- Contact you at work after being told not to.
- Communicate with you after receiving a letter from you (a) with a request they cease and desist all contacts or (b) that you refuse to pay the debt.
- Engage in harassing, oppressive or abusive conduct.
- Use or threaten violence or other criminal means, or use obscene or profane language.
- Cause your telephone to ring repeatedly or continuously.
- Use false, deceptive, or misleading representations or methods, including but not limited to (a) falsely representing it is affiliated with the United States or any State; (b) falsely representing the character, amount, or legal status of the debt; (c) falsely representing or implying that nonpayment would result in arrest or imprisonment or the seizure, garnishment, attachment, or sale of property or wages; (d) threatening to take an action against that cannot be legally taken or that was not actually intended to be taken; (e) falsely representing or implying that you committed a crime; or (f) communicating or threatening to communicate false or likely false credit information.
- Use unfair or unconscionable means in an attempt to collect a debt, including but not limited to: (a) trying to collect an amount not expressly authorized by the debt agreement/contract or other applicable law; (b) threatening to or actually depositing a postdated check prior to the date on such check; or (c) taking or threatening to take money or property where there was no present right.
- Continue to contact you after receiving your cease and desist or request for validation letter.
- Force you to pay the debt prior to expiration of your 30 day right to dispute.
- Sue you except in the county you signed the contract, you live or own property that is the subject of the debt.
- Falsely represent themselves as attorneys.
- Provide the notices required by 15 USC § 1692g either in the initial communication with you or in writing within 5 days after.
- Notify you in the initial communication it is “an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained would be used for that purpose.”
- Notify you during each collection contact the communication was from a debt collector.
- Disclose the caller’s individual identity in every telephone call to you.
ALWAYS, when communicating with a debt collector:
- Get the name, telephone number and name of the debt collection company that is calling you.
- Start a journal making detailed notes of everything that is said during the communications with the debt collector during or immediately after communicating with the debt collector.
- Save all letters, voices mails and anything else that you obtain during the debt collection process.
- Note whether the debt collector tells you if the call if being recorded OR if your telephone is called using an auto-dialer or electronic device.
- Pay debt collectors using check or money order after you have verified the validity of the debt and the legitimacy of the debt collection agency.
NEVER, when communicating with a debt collector:
- Pay a debt collector by telephone.
- Pay a debt collector until they have provided proof they are legally collecting a valid debt.
- Give out personal information over the telephone to a debt collector.
- Allow debt collectors or creditors to treat you unfairly.
- Respond to an abusive debt collector by using abuse.
ALSO, a debt collector MUST (despite what they say):