If a debtor in Newport Beach, California, falls behind on debts, they will likely get calls from creditors. However, some creditors break debt collection laws in making these calls because consumers don’t know their rights. Since technology has given collectors new ways of contacting debtors, the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act has been amended.
Overview of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act governs how debt collectors collect debt, and it includes wage garnishment, repossessions and creditor harassment. The FDCPA covers several types of personal debts, such as credit card or medical, but not business debts.
Debt collectors cannot call debtors before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. or call them at work unless the debtor gives permission. They cannot use abusive language, threaten to arrest debtors or falsely threaten debtors with lawsuits. Collectors must validate the debt within five days after contacting the debtor and include how much debt is owed and the name of the creditor. The letter must also include instructions on how to dispute the debt.
Changes to the FDCPA
New FDCPA rules schedule to go into effect later in 2021 allows debt collectors to use new technology to collect debt with restrictions. While collection agencies may use text messages, social media and emails without consent, they must provide an opt-out system.
They also cannot discuss the debt publicly on social media and must disclose that they are a debt collector before sending debtors a friend request. The new laws will only allow a debt collector to contact the debtor by phone seven times weekly per debt. The new laws also have provisions for prohibiting collection agencies from collecting time-barred debts.
Debt collectors cannot treat consumers any way they want, or they may get sued under the FDCPA. If a debtor thinks that a collector broke FDCPA laws, they should seek legal help.