Are debt collectors hounding you with endless phone calls? Are the debt collectors using abusive language or threats in an attempt to get you to pay? Such conduct could be against the law.
Consumers do not have to put up with this kind of behavior and there are laws that prohibit such abusive conduct by debt
collectors. For Marylanders, the two main laws are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (often called the “FDCPA”), and the Maryland Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“MDFDCPA”). These laws give consumers a right to sue debt collectors who engage in unlawful collection activity.
Unlawful collection activity includes things such as:
- Threats to attach your wages illegally
- Threats to call you every second until the debt is paid
- Calls before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Threat to immediately evict (by an agent for a landlord); lockout, or seize personal property where such relief is limited by state law
- Threaten imprisonment or criminal punishment
- Threat to Sue, where no suit is intended
- Contact or threaten to neighbors about the debt
- Threaten to report a financed vehicle as “stolen” because you missed one or more vehicle payments Sell the debt to another company for the purposes of continuing collection on a time-barred debt;
- Add “collection costs, attorney’s fees” and similar additional charges have also been held to be deceptive and misleading, because they
do not state exactly what debt is being sought
- Contact or threaten to contact the Department of Homeland Security about your alien status;
- File or threaten to file criminal bad check charges on a post dated check that the collector solicited from you;
- Sue or bring any kind of legal action where the threat is not followed through (i.e. a scare tactic), or any number or other threats designed to demoralize, humiliate, degrade; embarrass or intimidate a debtor into payment.
- Any threat where the collector says he is legal counsel or an attorney/lawyer when he is not
- Any threat or attempt to mislead a debtor that a claim will be transferred to an attorney or separate department of a collector
- In addition to threats, debt collectors may violate your rights by failing to give you the following warning.
“Hello,I am _________(name of collector). I am (or this office is) a debt collector representing____________(creditor). Information obtained during the course of this call will be used for the purpose of collecting the debt.”
Other violations include suggestions such as “you should skip payments to your basic utilities paymentsin order to pay the
If a collector has done any of the above acts you have legal rights. You can sue the collector for violating your rights. If your case
is successful you can:
- Have the debt reduced or even eliminated
- Have credit report cleared of negative reports
- Receive up to $1000
- Have attorney fees paid by the collection agency
- If the creditor has not been advising you as above, you may have a right to sue.
Has a debt collector committed any of these acts? Contact us to discuss your legal rights. The consultation is free.
Joseph Githuku, Esq.
Disclaimer: The contents of this email are provided for
informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed as
result of this email. Please contact a knowledgeable attorney for assistance
with your legal issue.