Illegal Collection Practices By Debt Collectors

June 29, 2012 by  Filed under: Credit 

Junk debt buyers and collection agencies are infamous for their collection strategies that range from threatening phone calls to actual credit card lawsuit. Threats of wage garnishment, property liens and fraud charges are also very common. Some collectors go as far as contact the people around the debtor, including employers, friends, and relatives, in a bid to shame the debtor into paying. With all these aggressive collection tactics, the question becomes, are they legal?

Not so, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. The FDCPA is a federal law that protects consumer rights against unfair collection practices that debt collectors, junk debt buyers, creditors or any other debt collection agencies apply. Whether it’s a threat to face jail time or garnish wages, we have compiled some of the most common, and downright illegal, threats creditors and junk debt buyers use to scare people into paying:

Wage Garnishment

Did you know, that in some state like Pennsylvania, it is completely illegal for junk debt buyers or creditors to threaten debtors of garnishing their wages because this act is completely illegal? If an activity cannot be carried out, it cannot be used as a threat. Wage garnishment does not occur in Pennsylvania for credit card debt so scaring people into paying via wage garnishment is completely illegal.

Jail Time

Most creditors and junk debt buyers use credit card lawsuit and jail time as threats. Here’s the straight fact: There is absolutely no law in existence in the US that will cause debtors to go to jail for unpaid card debts. Zip, zero, nada. Since jail time cannot be carried out, using it as a threat is illegal. Sure, creditors can file a credit card lawsuit for the debt but jail time should not be used to scare people into paying their debts.

Contacting Friends and Family

Creditors and junk debt buyers are not allowed by law to contact a debtor’s friends, family or employer to shame debtors into paying their debts. Regardless of the circumstances, they should not discuss debtor’s financial problems with other people. The only time a creditor can contact a relative or a neighbor is if they cannot locate the debtor but only after a good faith effort.

Unfortunately, the fact that many debtors remain ignorant of the law is the reason why many creditors and collectors continue to apply the above practices. If your creditor or collector crossed the line, don’t hesitate to report them to consumer attorney and sue them for violating your rights.

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