At Delev & Associates, LLC, many of the clients we represent include Cincinnati businesses attempting to collect debt owed by consumers. Creditors’ rights are a topic that often falls by the wayside in favor of protecting debtors from abusive debt collection practices. It is important, however, that companies are able to recover funds that are legally owed to them. This does not mean that consumer rights are not equally important. In fact, creditor and debtor rights are related – ensuring lawful debt collection efforts are implemented and illegal practices are avoided may help companies collect on debts before having to resort to civil litigation.
What are the laws that debt collectors need to know about debt collection practices? According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted to protect consumers from being deceived or abused by companies attempting to collect debts. Illegal debt collection practices include the following:
- Calling a debtor at inconvenient times, such as before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night, or annoying debtors with repeated phone calls
- Continuing to contact a debtor at work after being informed not to call there
- Using threatening or obscene language on the phone
- Pretending to be an attorney, law enforcement officer or government agent
- Making false statements, such as telling the consumer he or she will go to jail for not paying the debt
- Publishing the names of those who have not paid their debts
What are debt collectors allowed to do, then? They may provide a list of unpaid debts to credit reporting agencies. They are allowed to speak with attorneys hired by debtors in relation to the amount owed. They can inform the debtor in writing that they intend to take legal action, and they may take such action if previous attempts to resolve the debt have failed.
There are additional limitations and allowances set forth by the FDCPA that give creditors certain rights and restrictions. To learn more about debt collection practices under the FDCPA, please visit our page on the topic.