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What You Need to Know About Debt Defense

Laws on debt collection


Falling behind the payments for your house mortgage, auto loan, credit cards, or medical debt may be overwhelming to you. Add to that those debt collectors who intimidate and threaten cash-strapped consumers like you. Your predicament can suddenly turn into a nerve-wracking experience. Don’t let these happen to you.

By understanding the laws on debt collection, you can take the appropriate steps to stop any form of intimidation and the unethical practices of some debt collectors or agencies.

Handling your financial predicament need not stress you out. Let not a debt collection lawsuit defeat you. Know your rights and exercise them. Get legal advice from debt defense attorneys from Northwest Debt Defense Law Firm

What laws govern debt collection?

It is important to be aware of lawful debt collection practices so that you are not put in an unsavory situation by your debt collectors.

1.    Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

The 95th United States Congress enacted this federal law.

It lays out the rules for protecting consumers from third-party debt collectors who use harassing, abusive, or unfair debt collection practices.

Third-party debt collectors who attempt to collect specific categories of delinquent debt are subject to this law. For example, these debt collectors buy unpaid debt from credit card companies.

Listed below are some critical provisions considered unlawful action by a third-party collector of debts.

  • Contacting you about debts paid off a long time ago or debt that is not even yours, to begin with
  • Using rude and abusive words or making threats
  • Causing a telephone to repeatedly ring with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass
  • In your time zone, get in touch with you in the hours before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. unless you have permitted him to call you during those times.
  • Making telephone calls without correctly identifying oneself, except as allowed to obtain location information.
  • Communicating with a you instead of the lawyer representing you
  • Interacting with you at your place of employment when the debt collector knows or should know that your employer forbids such interactions.
  • Notify your employer about your debt unless it represents unpaid child support.
  • Using obscene, profane, or another language that abuses the listener or reader.
  • Fake representation or implication that accounts have been sold to innocent purchasers.
  • Fraudulent representation or implication that documents are part of the legal procedure.
  • Using a name other than the actual name of the debt collector’s firm, company, or organization to avoid being identified.
  • Falsely represent or imply that he is employed by or operates a consumer reporting agency.
  • Charge telephone calls and telegrams to any person by hiding the genuine purpose of the communication
  • Solicit a post-dated check or other post-dated payment instruments to use as a threat or as a basis for bringing criminal charges against someone.
  • Imply that he has the authority to garnish your income or seize other personal property to satisfy the debt. He must file a lawsuit against you in a court of law and secure a court judgment against you for that to occur.
  • Fraudulent claim that he is an attorney or that anything comes from a lawyer.
  • Getting you arrested or imprisoned for non-payment of debts. No one will have his property or wages seized, garnished, or sold unless the debt collector or creditor agrees to it.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to the following:

  • Receive a written notice from the debt collector containing this information within five days of the initial contact if the debt collector does not provide it at the time of the initial contact.
  • Contest the debt in its entirety or part. When in doubt about whether or not you owe money to a creditor or how much you might owe them, you can also ask for more information.
  • Dispute all or part of a debt in writing within 30 days of receiving the required information from the debt collector. The debt collector will not be able to call or contact you to collect the debt or the disputed part until the debt collector has provided you with written confirmation of the debt.
  • Request that the creditor provides you with the original creditor’s name and address. The debt collector is required to cease all debt collection activities until the debt collector provides you with the information you requested in writing within 30 days if you submit your written request within that time frame. If you don’t recognize the creditor’s name, inquire whether it is possible that the creditor acquired the debt from another company and, if so, what the name of that company is.
  • When you receive the requested information or the response to your dispute from the debt collector, check to see if the information in your records matches the information provided by the debt collector.

Summing up, the FDCPA provides you the legal basis to file a lawsuit against unscrupulous debt collectors.

2. New provisions under Regulation F

On November 30, 2021, Regulation F took effect to regulate debt collection practices further. These rules now include provisions for using limited content messages, electronic communications, validation notices; new call restrictions; and expansion of unfair and unconscionable conduct.

Here are some notable provisions under Regulation F.

Debt collectors must notify consumers in any electronic communication that they have the right to opt-out of a specific medium of electronic communication. They need to disclose to the consumer a reasonable, simple, and free method to opt out of a particular mode of electronic communication and the consequences of doing so.

Likewise, they can now send a text message to a person who owes money. But if your debt collection agency does use electronic communications, make sure that the communication has straightforward ways to unsubscribe from it. There may not be a charge for people who choose to stop receiving electronic communications. They may not also have to give up any other information, like their email address or phone number.

3. State laws

Aside from the FDCPA, various states have laws to protect the general public and regulate third-party debt collectors.

For example, the State of Washington requires them to get a license from its Department of Licensing (DOL) and deposit a bond before they may begin collecting debts.

When a debt collector sends you a letter, notice, form, or anything else for the first time, it must include the following information:

  1. A statement that provides for the amount owing on the original obligation at the time it was received by a debt collector for collection, as well as a schedule of additional charges (such as late fees, interest, and attorneys’ fees) that the debt collector intends to charge you
  2. His business address and licensee name and/or the name of the original creditor (if the debt collector knows it), as well as your actual account number and when you last made a payment to the original creditor.

Furthermore, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in the following activities.

  1. Make a list of bad debts that has your name on them.
  2. Threatening to sell your debt to a third party to pressure you into paying.
  3. If a company threatens to report you to a credit reporting agency, it is unlikely that it will do so.
  4. If you have instructed it to interact only with your attorney, it may contact you (unless the attorney will not respond).
  5. Use any name other than the one that has been licensed.
  6. Provide you with documents that appear to be court documents even if they are not.
  7. Pretend like it’s attempting to reach you because there’s an urgent situation.
  8. Say that it will not add fees on the debt unless the contract stipulates it. 

4. Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is another federal law. In general, it covers how financial matters, such as debt collections are reported on your credit report.

Under this law, it allows credit reporting companies to send your credit report to creditors, government authorities, landlords, employers, and others who they have reason to believe will use the information for the following legitimate purposes:

  • The provision of credit, the review of a customer’s credit history, or the collection of a debt
  • Offering Insurance coverage
  • Employment purposes. Your prospective or current employer must obtain your written consent.
  • Eligibility for government benefits or licenses.
  • Legitimate business need

Now that you grasped some of the most critical laws on debt collection, you are in a better position to start your debt defense. Talk to our debt collection lawsuit attorneys who can help you protect your rights and win, not only your lawsuit, but give you back your peace of mind as well.

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Northwest Debt Defense Law Firm

650 NE Holladay St, Suite 1640
Portland, OR 97232, United States

NW Debt Defense Law Firm is a Debt Relief Agency. Where appropriate we file petitions for relief under the Bankruptcy Code solely for consumers in the District of Oregon. We represent both Oregon and Washington consumers in collections law suits in Oregon and Washington state courts.


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