The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is designed to protect consumer
debtors against harassment from debt collectors.
The Act applies to debt collectors, not to a party who is directly owed the
Furthermore, the act defines consumer debt as related to personal, family
and household transactions. Therefore, the act does not apply to business
debt. (Sometimes, it is not clear if a debt is a consumer debt or a business
debt, as in the case of the purchase of a computer).
There are common violations of the Act
- Calling at inappropriate times- between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Using abusive or profane language
- Attempting to collect amounts which are not due – excess principal balance, excessive interest charges, excessive fees
- Debt collectors failing to send debtors an appropriate written notice of the debt, which should legally include the official name of the creditor, the amount of debt owed and a notification that the debtor has the right to dispute the debt in question.
- Threatening to start a lawsuit when there is no right or no intention to start a lawsuit.
The collection agency must cease communication upon request:
communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after
receiving written notice that the consumer wishes no further
communication or refuses to pay the alleged debt, with certain exceptions,
including advising that collection efforts are being terminated or that the
collector intends to file a lawsuit or pursue other remedies where
In many situations, the collection agency or collection attorney will
stop all collection activity, since it is not economically worthwhile to
proceed with a lawsuit.
In some situations, the creditor will decide to start suit, as this is
the only viable option to collect on a debt.
If a consumer is represented by an attorney, and the agency is aware of
the attorney, the collection agency must deal directly with the attorney.
A consumer can dispute all or any part of a debt at any time, but only after
a written request sent (by the consumer to the collector) within thirty
days of receipt of the first written notice of the debt. The collector must
then mail the consumer “verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment,
or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such
verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor.”
Please feel free to contact Attorney Singer, with any questions.
Attorney Robert M. Singer
2572 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518