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Understanding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

In cases where individuals are considering a bankruptcy filing, this often related in large part to a number of outstanding debts on your financial ledger. Those in this position have often spent significant time dealing with debt collectors, sometimes a major factor in their decision to file for bankruptcy to begin with.

At Utah Bankruptcy, we’re here to help with those looking to file either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This includes not only the actual filing itself, but many of the surrounding circumstances, including dealing with debt collectors. For those undergoing this process, a law known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is vital for protecting consumers from certain illegal forms of debt collection. Here are some basics on the FDCPA and how it may impact you if you’re dealing with debt collectors.

Basics of FDCPA

The FDCPA is in place to define when, how and how frequently a third-party debt collector is allowed to contact a consumer debtor. This law is only regarding third-party debt collectors, not all debt collectors – if you owe money directly to a local business, for instance, the owner of that business is not bound by the FDCPA, but a third party they hired to collect would be.

The following debt types are generally covered by the FDCPA:

How Collectors Can Contact You

One of the key tenets of the FDCPA is how it protects you from being contacted at certain times or in certain formats. Some basic rules here:

  • Debt collectors cannot call your home outside the hours between 8 am and 9 pm, except when the collector and debtor have made a specific arrangement for a call outside these hours.
  • Debt collectors cannot use unfair, abusive or deceptive practices while collecting debts.
  • Debt collectors can call debtors at both homes or offices, but the latter can be removed if the debtor provides a verbal or written request to stop contacting their place of employment.
  • Debt collectors must send the debtor a validation notice within five days of contacting them, stating how much they owe, the creditor name and what should be done if the debt is not theirs.

Debtor Requests

As we noted above, you can request that a debt collector stop calling your office, and they must comply. The same goes for home phones – you must make a written request here, usually through certified mail with a return receipt to prove the collector received your request. If approved, the collector must stop calling your home.

Collector Limitations

Finally, the FDCPA states that debt collectors can only discuss the debt with the debtor or their direct spouse. They can only call third parties regarding the debt once each – they can call relatives or co-workers one time apiece, but they are prohibited from revealing any specific information about the debt while doing so.

For more on the FDCPA and how it may impact you, or to learn about any of our bankruptcy filing services, speak to the staff at Utah Bankruptcy today.