Q:

What is the Fair Debt Collection Act?

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Quick Answer

The Fair Debt Collection Act is a federal law that prohibits debt collectors from using deceptive and unfair practices to collect a debt, explains the Federal Trade Commission. A debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts that are owed by individuals and businesses.

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Full Answer

There are several different practices that are illegal for a debt collector to use under this law. A debt collector cannot harass or abuse the debtor or any third-party a debt collector contacts on behalf of the debtor. Debt collectors may not use threats of harm, or publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts, explains the Federal Trade Commission.

Debt collectors may not use false statements when trying to collect a debt, such as claiming the debtor has committed a crime, and debt collectors cannot state that they are government employees. A debt collector cannot tell the debtor that if the debt is not paid, the debtor may end up going to jail, reports the Federal Trade Commission.

If a debtor feels a debt collector has violated this law, he should report any problems to his state Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, advises the Federal Trade Commission.

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