Fair Debt Collection Practices Attorneys in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act encompasses the federal debt collection statute, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and provides certain important restrictions on the conduct of debt collectors. More information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including a summary of how more recent regulations interpreting the Act may impact consumers’ rights. The Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act regulates the debt collection activities of debt collectors and creditors in Pennsylvania. Effective as of June 26, 2000, the law prohibits debt collectors and creditors from engaging in certain unfair or deceptive acts or practices while attempting to collect debts.
Communications with Debtor by the Debt Collector
Without your prior consent or the express permission of a court, debt collectors and creditors may attempt to communicate with you within certain time, manner and places with a debtor. The actions of the collector are set forth are prohibited when they are:
Knowing that you are represented by an attorney;
At unusual times and places;
Before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.;
Telephone conversation more than once per week concerning a particular debt;
Continuing the use of specific method of communication (e.g., phone calls or texts) after you have requested that they stop communicating with you via that particular method;
At work, if they know your employer disapproves of such contacts (you my have to communicate this);
Limited Communications by Debt Collectors with Third Parties
Debt collectors and creditors may communicate with third parties only for the purpose of acquiring location information about you. During these third party contacts, debt collectors and creditors may not reveal that you owe any debt.
Debt collectors and creditors shall not harass, oppress or abuse third parties while making efforts for collecting a debt they believe is owed by the debtor.
Harassing Actions Include:
Threatening you with violence or harm:
Publishing a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, except the reporting to a credit rating authorities;
Use of obscene or profane language:
Repeatedly using the telephone to annoy: for example calling you about a particular debt more than seven times within a seven-day period.
Unfair or Unconscionable Practices
Debt collectors and creditors may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collect a debt. These center on privacy and respecting that the debtor’s financial affairs are not the business of others beyond the debtor and collector and possibly those related to litigation. Examples of this include:
Using deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams;
Contacting you by postcard;
Contacting you by sending an email to an address that the collector knows is provided by your employer;
Contacting you via social media if the communication is publicly viewable;
Collecting any amount greater than your debt, unless permitted by the agreement creating the debt or by law;
Prematurely depositing a postdated check;
Creditors and debt collectors may not use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt. Examples include:
Falsely implying that they are attorneys;
Falsely implying that you have committed a crime;
Falsely implying that documents sent to you are legal documents;
Falsely implying that documents sent to you are not legal documents;
Misrepresenting the amount or legal status of your debt;
Misrepresenting their name;
Threatening to file a lawsuit when they cannot file the suit or do not intend to do so;
Falsely implying that they are vouched for, bonded or affiliated with the government;
Remember, legal recourse exists both at the state level and at the Federal level. The quality of the communications and the repetitive nature of the actions in an attempt to collect a debt can add to the amount of an award. The main thing that you should consider, it the stress and the risk to your reputation, in addition to the legal costs in dealing with debts that you may or may not own.