Your Rights: Collection Defense
Your rights when dealing with collection agencies are governed by a collection of laws, both State and Federal. However, the principal statute that deals exclusively with regulating debt collectors is a Federal Statute, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (click here), or FDCPA for short.
The FDCPA regulates “debt collectors”. It does not apply to the original creditor, but only to collection agencies and purchasers of delinquent accounts. It can also apply to mortgage servicing companies.
In a nutshell, the FDCPA says that debt collectors may not lie, cheat or steal. They may not misrepresent the amount of a debt. They may not make idle threats. They may not tell you that they are going to do something that they know they aren’t going to do — well, at least not legally.
If you are reading this you probably aren’t surprised to learn that the FDCPA is violated by some debt collectors. The statute does provide a remedy, including actual damages, punitive damages, statutory damages, costs and a prevailing consumer attorney fee.
There are other statutes that limit debt collectors’ ability to threaten and intimidate you into paying them money. In Oklahoma the Consumer Protection Act provides some protection from debt collectors, although that is not its primary purpose.
If you are being threatened or harassed by a debt collector and you believe that collector may be acting outside the scope of the law, you will want to make sure you have the following information:
- The name of the collection agency;
- The company whose account is being collected;
- The name (or alias) of the individual you spoke to;
- The date and time the communication took place;
- A copy of the communication if it was in writing; and
- A detailed description of what took place that you believe is objectionable.
Then, you will want to contact an experienced consumer or bankruptcy law attorney with that information.