Bankruptcy and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

A leading reason many people file bankruptcy is to stop debt collector harassment. Most people really do want to pay their bills. However, things have happened in their life, often out of their control, that cause some people to make difficult financial decisions. The Bankruptcy Code and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) work together to stop the aggressive behavior of debt collectors.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from abuse and harassment, and there are statutory penalties when a debt collector behaves poorly. Here are some ways the FDCPA limits debt collection behavior:

Communication

  • – A debt collector cannot communicate at any unreasonable times or places. This includes any times or places that “should be known to be inconvenient.” So, if they know you work the midnight shift, and sleep during the day, calling during normal business hours may violate the FDCPA.
  • – If you have an attorney representing you regarding the debt, including its inclusion in a bankruptcy, a debt collector must stop direct communication.
  • – If the debt collector has knowledge or has a reason to know you cannot receive calls at work, they may not call your place of employment.

Harassment or Abuse

  • – A debt collector cannot threaten to harm you physically, your reputation or your property.
  • – The use of abusive, obscene, and profane language is prohibited both verbally and in writing.
  • – Except for a consumer reporting agency, a debt collector may not publish your name as someone who has not paid his bills.
  • – A debt collector cannot repeatedly call a consumer with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass.
  • – When placing a telephone call, the debt collector must disclose his identity.

False or Misleading Statements

  • – A debt collector cannot identify himself as a representative of the government or law enforcement.
  • – He cannot misrepresent the amount or legal status of a debt.
  • – A statement that the consumer committed a crime is prohibited.
  • – There cannot be a threat of legal action if the debt collector is not prepared to take action.
  • – Overall, a debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading statements or methods to collect a debt.

Unfair Practices

  • – Additional fees and interest cannot be added if not allowed by agreement and the law.
  • – A debt collector must identify his intent to deposit a payment in writing 10 days before processing if scheduled more than 5 days in advance.
  • – He may not deposit or threaten to deposit a postdated check or other postdated payment before the scheduled date.
  • – A debt collector may not conceal the true intention of his communication.
  • – Essentially, he may not use any unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt.

Have the professionals guide you out of this horrible event the right way but also the quickest way. With over three decades of experience, HARRIS S. AMMERMAN, is dedicated to serving anyone who is experiencing overwhelming debt and needs to file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7, or chapter 13. We are pleased to serve the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, call today at (202) 638-0606 for a free consultation. If you would like to talk more about how to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, or need additional information, please contact us.

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Harris Ammerman

Since 1986, we have helped more than 10,000 clients and their families file for bankruptcy – more than any other firm in the region. We have more 50 years of combined experience and are conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C.
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