The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act And Your Rights


Fear is one of the most powerful of all human emotions, during a bankruptcy a Chicago bankruptcy attorney can help alleviate fears and protect your best interest. One of the leading causes of bankruptcy is unpaid credit card and other debts. Once an account is in arrears, creditors hire debt collection companies to collect the debts, and any fees and interest owed. The debt collection industry is notorious for practices that include harassment, threats, abusive language, and more. What many consumers do not realize is that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is illegal, not to mention unethical, for collection agencies to behave in this manner.

Debt collection agencies are hired by creditors to collect on past-due accounts including medical bills. They usually receive their compensation in the form of a commission payment based on the amount they successfully collect from debtors. Additionally, some debt collection agencies may practice the unsavory practice of purchasing old, out of the Statute of Limitations debts, and try to collect them as well. Often times, debt collection agencies resort to threats and intimidation and in some cases are successful in securing payments for debts by people that never incurred those debts.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, consumers have the right to request written verification of the debts the collection agencies are attempting to collect. It should be noted however, that consumers must request written verification within 30 days of the initial contact from the debt collector. Once received, the collection agency must stop calls and letters until the debt is verified. An additional protection granted under the Act for consumers is one of privacy. Previously it was not strictly illegal for debt collection agencies to keep personal information private; in a particularly nasty tactic, debt collection agencies would contact neighbors, friends and family and disclose consumer’s debt. Now that practice is illegal; the disclosure of the existence of debts to other persons who are not authorized to know about the debts is illegal and consumers now have the ability to sue creditors who partake in this collection tactic.

Don’t allow debt collection agencies to cause fear. Harassing phone calls, threats of violence, threats of arrest, abusive language, and calls that fall outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. are illegal. Consumers with mounting debt and unpaid bills can find relief from the harassment and get their life back through bankruptcy.