Collection attorneys come in two varieties – Creditor attorneys who generally help creditors who are attempting to collect a debt, and Debtor attorneys who help those that are being asked to pay the debt. If a debt cannot be satisfied, a debtor might go into Bankruptcy to protect their assets. Bankruptcy attorneys can also represent either creditors, or debtors, as well.
Collections law is regulated by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, which is part of the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act regulates debt collection agencies, seeking to stop abusive collection practices and promote fair collection practices. Consumers are granted rights, including a legal way to dispute and validate debts. Debt collectors must follow prescribed guidelines while attempting to collect debts and subscribe to fair credit reporting practices (i.e. Fair Credit Reporting Act.)
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Rules
It is significant to note that the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act regulates debt collection agencies, not the original creditor.
Specifically, the Act disallows “abusive and deceptive” action while attempting to collect debts. For example, consumers may only be called from 8am to 9pm local time; and, if the consumer provides written notice requesting no further communication, attempts to collect the debt (but for litigation) must cease (excepting notice of the intent to file a lawsuit or stop collection attempts.)
Debt collectors may not telephone the consumer, or any telephone number associated with the consumer, continuously, with the intent to annoy, abuse, or harass; they may not call consumers at work after they have been advised such calls are prohibited by the employer or, otherwise, unacceptable.
Debt collectors may not threaten arrest or legal action that is not legitimately being considered. Debt collectors may not use abusive or profane language when attempting to collect a debt; they may not pretend to be lawyers or police officers and they can’t submit false information to credit reporting agencies. But, note that this list of Debt Collector “do’s and don’t’s” is not complete and a specialist in this area should be consulted as to a specific situation.