Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Some debt-collecting is done fraudulently from the start. If only the collection agencies calling during dinner time were considered fraudulent.

In the vein of trying to protect consumers from faulty practices, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in 1978 in order to help regulate debt collection processes. As with most acts of Congress, this act has many ins and outs.

The act prohibits many key activities for collection agencies. First and foremost is that agencies are not allowed to call consumers before 8 am or after 9 pm. Additionally, if these consumers submit a written request to have the collection calls stop, the agencies must cease and desist. We all know collection agencies annoy us, but it is not usually on purpose. Perhaps I am giving the agencies the benefit of the doubt, but under this act, the companies are not allowed to harass a consumer with the intention of annoying him or her. Collection agencies are also prohibited from threatening consumers with legal action, posing as attorneys, and using false information to scare consumers to pay their debts.

Not only does the act prohibit certain actions of the collection agencies, it also requires others. For example, the act requires collection agencies to identify themselves properly when communicating with consumers. The act also requires collection agencies to make several communicative measures with consumers to increase transparency and make it easier for consumers to pay off their debts, like properly communicating how much is owed, proper ways of payment, due dates, and how to dispute the debt. In this way, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1978 levels the playing field in terms of agency-consumer relations, and gives the consumer more rights so he or she cannot be taken advantage of by fraudulent debt-collection practices.

However, no act of Congress is without criticisms. Certain consumer groups have complained that the act does not pervade fraud enough, and that the federal government has not done its job to enforce the rules outlined in the act. These groups believe the act should have addressed other issues of fraudulent debt-collection and also be enforced properly. Credit card companies also point out that many consumers have used the act as an excuse to file frivolous law suits.

No matter the side of the argument, it goes without saying that many consumers felt unfairly targeted. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act seeks to protect these consumers so relationships between debtors and collectors can become more level and civil.

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit was born under the hot Floridian sun during some year in the 1980s. There he studied school matters until moving to North Carolina in 1999. Possibly due to the fact that his mom had enough of him being inside all the time, he quickly got involved in community affairs via the Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the values of citizenship, morality, duty to God and country, and that the biggest kids get to boss around the smaller ones. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2004, and still values the rank as one of his proudest achievements. Beginning in 2006, Chris began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he quickly learned the value of basketball and poplar trees. Since attending UNC, Chris has been double majoring in Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese, and Political Science. When he isn’t slaving over his honors thesis, looking up a bunch of Chinese Characters, volunteering, or mindlessly browsing the same websites over and over, Chris enjoys writing short stories and novels. Much to his roommates’ annoyance, he also spends his free time learning to play the guitar. Above all else, though, Chris values God, his family, and his friends. For the future, Chris plans to apply to Georgetown to further his studies in Political Science, hopefully with a concentration on China. Pending acceptance into Georgetown, Chris would like to study while gaining professional experience in a government job in Washington DC.
Chris Buchheit

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