Times are tough and even debt collectors aren’t fairing well in the job market. Despite record high personal debt balances, the debt collection business is not as lucrative as one would think. Although intimidating and abusive debt collection practices are not new to the business, there has been a sharp increase in the number of complaints filed against creditors for engaging in such actions. In fact, there are now numerous cases being handled in court to resolve some of the issues caused by companies engaging in such practices.
Most consumers are aware of certain actions that are prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. However, there are a few common practices that have gone under the radar for years.
Crossing The Line
Many people have been contacted by debt collectors that say they represent a creditor directly or use deception to influence the debtor into paying. Debt collectors are required by law to be honest about who they are, which debt they are attempting to collect and the actual amount owed. Any attempt to hide information, inflate amounts owed or represent themselves as a official of the law are strictly prohibited.
Consumers maintain the right to request a validation of the debt by submitting a formal written request to the creditor. Once this request has been made, debt collectors may not pursue further collection attempts during the 30 day validation period. Many creditors will try and get around this requirement by stating they never received the request or that the 30 day validation period has expired.
Creditors are also legally prohibited from contacting consumers that are being represented by an attorney. One example is in the case of a bankruptcy filing, in which an automatic stay order has been issued. Once legally represented by an attorney, consumers cannot be contacted further by the creditor.