On Monday, we mentioned how a Maryland judge had issued a “stay” on nearly 4,000 debt collection cases from two companies that had their business licenses suspended. While a majority of the more than 27,000 cases the two companies filed were filed before proper licensing had been obtained, Baltimore’s City Paper also reported that additional violations included:
- Knowingly filing false, deceptive or deficient affidavits with regard to the affiant’s personal knowledge of the consumer’s claim
- Intentionally misrepresenting the amount of the consumer claims and collecting impermissible compound interest;
- Knowingly collecting unauthorized attorney’s fees and prejudgment interest at unauthorized rates
- Filing cases which the relevant assignment documents evidence that one company did not have valid title of the consumer claims at issue
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is an amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act that is designed to eliminate abusive practices and promote fair debt collection. The FDCPA prohibits a number of creditor methods, including:
- Contacting consumers outside the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Contacting consumers at their place of employment after being asked not to
- Threatening arrest or legal action over the phone
- Abusive or profane language
- Communicating with third parties
- Reporting false information on a consumer’s credit report or threatening to do so
- Misrepresenting the debt or misrepresenting the debt collector as an attorney or law enforcement officer
- Seeking unjustified amounts
- Communicating with the consumer after a request for validation has been made
Furthermore, the FDCPA also requires debt collectors to identify themselves, give the name and address of the original creditor, notify the consumer of their rights, provide verification of the debt and file a lawsuit in a proper venue.
While it is certainly beneficial to know what debt collectors are not allowed to do, on Friday we will discuss another area of the process that is equally important to understand: What you should say during a conversation with a debt collector. Our Maryland bankruptcy lawyer may be able to end creditor harassment through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 discharge process that will also ultimately help you reestablish credit.
Law Firm of Kevin D. Judd – Maryland bankruptcy attorney