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How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers

Residents of St. Louis and throughout Missouri who find themselves in debt will not only face the worry of finding a way to get back on stronger financial ground, but also consistent and aggressive attempts by debt collectors to receive payment. That aggression can sometimes cross the line. However, debtors are often unaware of how far debt collectors can go under the law. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act accords certain protections to debtors. It is important to understand them and know that the debt collector is violating the law so steps can be taken to put a stop to it.

Debt collectors cannot engage in harassment, oppression or abuse. Examples include threatening the debtor with violence or other harm; publishing names of those who do not pay their debts; speaking to the debtor with obscenities or profanity; or making repeated calls as a means of annoyance. It is also against the law for the debt collector to make false statements.

They cannot tell the debtor that he or she will be arrested if the debt is not paid; that property or wages can be seized, attached or sold unless they are legally allowed to do that; or that legal action will be taken if it is not an action that is allowed by law or they do not plan to take the action. False information about the debtor cannot be given to anyone; they cannot send anything that appears to be an official document if it is not; and they cannot use a company name that is false. They cannot collect interest or fees on top of what is owed unless the contract for the debt or the law allows the change. A check that is postdated cannot be deposited early.

People who are confronted by overwhelming debt and have the concern over it compounded by unscrupulous debt collectors who will commit the above acts and worse must realize they have protections available. Contacting a law firm that specializes in protecting clients from violators of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can help with stopping these acts and with moving forward with strategies to achieve debt relief.

Source: consumer.ftc.gov, "Debt Collection -- What practices are off limits for debt collectors?," accessed on April 4, 2018

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