Having a massive amount of debt can be daunting. This is especially true if you know there are some bills that you have to pay, but cannot because you lost your job or suffered another major personal loss, etc. While it is not unlawful for a collection agency (on behalf of a creditor) to enforce and collect payment for debt as per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), there are many things that they cannot do to make you pay.
What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which was approved almost forty years ago, was put in place to protect consumers from abusive debt collection practices and promote decent debt collection. In fact, one of the reasons the act exists is because there was sufficient evidence to prove that debt collection agencies were being unfair, deceptive, and abusive.
Most of the state and federal laws regarding debt collection practices are nearly identical. For example, in Pennsylvania, the law applies to the collection agency and the creditor while federal law applies only to the collection agency.
How can you tell if a debt collector violated the FDCPA in Pennsylvania?
The most obvious signs are if they threatened are harassed you to acquire payment. For example, if the debt collector delivered or mailed you a paper that simulated or intended to simulate a summons, writ, or warrant to collect the money, they are in violation of the FDCPA. Other things that indicate they violated this act include the fact that they persistently reached out to collect the money after you gave them a written notice to stop and/or reached out to family members, friends, co-workers to let them know about your debt.
What should you do if you believe a debt collector has violated the FDCPA?
If you believe you are being harassed, and/or sensitive information has been released by a debt collector, etc., you should reach out to an attorney to discuss whether or not you can sue for damages. Another thing you can do is report the organization to the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
To keep you informed of the many debt collection agencies out there, here is a list of some of the ones that may contact you, and that are also located in Pennsylvania:
As bankruptcy lawyers that serve Bucks County, PA, and Montgomery County, PA, we are extremely familiar with what people go through when they have been contacted by a debt collector. If you believe that the debt collector has violated the FDCPA, or you are interested in filing for bankruptcy to protect yourself from being contact by debt collectors, we can help.