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Previously we began a discussion about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how it protects consumers. In this post, we discuss what constitutes unfair practices, threats and creditor harassment under the FDCPA.

First of all, under the FDCPA debt collectors cannot utilize unfair practices. First of all, this means that they cannot attempt to collect additional fees, interests or charges in addition to what the debtor already owes, unless they are allowed to do so per state law or the original contract that lead to the debt. In addition, if a debt collector receives a post-dated check from the debtor, they cannot cash that check early. Also, under the FDCPA debt collectors are prohibited from threatening to seize or actually seize a debtor’s property, unless there is a legal means to do so.

In addition, debt collectors cannot make false statements. They cannot tell a debtor that the debtor has committed a crime. They cannot state that they are representatives of the government or that they are lawyers. They also cannot falsely state that they are working through a credit reporting company. They cannot falsely state the amount a debtor owes on a debt. In addition, they cannot send the debtor papers and state they are legal forms when in fact they are not, and vice versa. They also cannot give credit reporting companies or anyone else false information about the debtor or misrepresent themselves by using a false company name.

Finally, debt collectors cannot engage in harassing behaviors. They cannot make violent threats against a debtor or use profane or obscene language. They cannot issue a publication listing the names of debtors who are unable to pay their debts. They also cannot use the telephone system to repeatedly harass someone.

As this shows, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a powerful tool to help debtors in Kansas City. People in a tough financial situation should not be made to suffer further stress from unscrupulous debt collectors. Instead they deserve a fair opportunity to create a plan that helps them address their debt or file for bankruptcy if that is the best option.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, “Debt Collection,” accessed Feb. 21, 2015