The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act helps protect consumers and fight collection abuse. New Jersey bankruptcy firm Todd Murphy Law can help protect you from questionable or harassing debt collection practices.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits the debt collector from contacting a third party (someone who has information about you) if they know that you are represented by a lawyer. If you do not have a bankruptcy lawyer, the debt collector can only contact third parties to locate you. Your New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer will inform your debt collectors that he/she is representing you.
A debt collector must inform you in every communication they have with you that the communication is from a debt collector. The debt collector is required to send you a dispute/verification invitation within five days of their first contact with you. If you submit a dispute within 30 days, the debt collector must stop trying to collect until the debt is verified.
Telephone calls from a debt collector to you must only occur between 8:00am and 9:00pm. They cannot call you at work if there is an employer policy against such types of calls.
A debt collector must not harass, oppress, or abuse a consumer. This is not well defined in the law, however, and is left to the courts to decide. If there is abuse, try to record abusive collection language when you hear it, and keep a record of the calls in writing what took place and how it made you feel. The more proof of the abuse you have the better, as it can be difficult to convince a judge or jury that abuse took place.
Debt collectors are not permitted to use false or misleading information to collect a debt, and may not collect more than what is owed.
If a debt collector violates any part of the FDCPA, you may be able to recover actual damages, $1000 in statutory penalties, and attorney fees.
We’re here to help protect against collection abuse practices. If you’re abused by a collector, contact an attorney immediately.