• An Introduction to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
  • July 29, 2009 | Author: Peter T. Roach
  • Law Firm: Roach, Peter T., & Associates, P.C., Attorneys at Law - Syosset Office
  • In 1977, Congress enacted The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).  FDCPA was passed in order to:

    1. Outlaw abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices,
    2. Make sure that debt collectors who aren't using abusive debt collection practices are not disadvantaged as a result of their following the law, and
    3. Create minimum guidelines that all states must follow.

    FDCPA applies only to third parties who are hired by a creditor, not to creditors collecting their own debts; however, if a creditor uses a fake name or pretends to be a debt collector in order to collect their own debt, they will have to follow FDCPA.  For example, if the United States Credit Card Company wanted to collect the debts owed by their credit card holders by calling them up and saying that they are the United States Debt Collection Company, they would have to follow the rules set out by the FDCPA.  If they simply called to say that this is the United States Credit Card Company and we need your monthly payment, they are not bound by the FDCPA. 

    Creditors that do not need to follow the FDCPA because they are collecting their own debt still may not threaten or harass the debtor, or else they could be charged with criminal activity.  Obviously threats of physical violence are prohibited, but creditors also may not threaten to bring any type of criminal charges or threaten to have the debtor arrested if the debtor fails to pay the debt. 

    Even if the debtor got the debt by fraudulent activity to begin with, the creditor trying to recover the money may not threaten to report the debtor to the police in order to bully the debtor into paying up.  So, if the United States Credit Card Company calls to tell you that they are going to have you arrested if you don't send them money, you might be able to file criminal charges against them.

    Peter T. Roach is a New York collections lawyer, who enforces creditors' rights throughout the state of New York. To receive expert advice on collecting debt, visit http://www.roachlawfirm.com or call Peter T. Roach & Associates, P.C. at 1-516-938-3100.