Today’s widening access to new technology makes communication remarkably easy— and debt collectors are capitalizing on this opportunity. Consequently, some collectors are growing exceedingly abusive via Internet and mobile technologies in their debt collection tactics. While the Federal Trade Commission regulates communication techniques using the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the outdated law does not take into account these new technological communication channels.
About the Law
In 1977, the FDA established the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that forbids harassment from debt collectors and any unreasonable debt collection procedures. Under this law, examples of debt collector mistreatment can be separated into three categories:
- Calling at inconvenient times (before 8 am or after 9 pm)
- Constant aggressive or provoking language
- Inappropriate language
- Refusing to stop calling after receiving a cease letter
- Calling the debtor’s employer, friends, or family to disclose debt information
- Failing to inform that they are debt collectors
- Lying about the amount of debt owed
- Pretending to work for a credit reporting company
- Refusing to notify the consumer the debt can be disputed
- Collecting any interest fees or charges that are not included in the debt contract
- Depositing a post-dated check early
- Threatening to take away personal property and/or assets
- Threatening to publish a debtor’s name to the public
- Contacting a consumer via postcard
Time for an Update
There are no examples of harassment via text message or email mentioned above, which confirms the dated nature of the law. Technology, such as automated dialers, text messages, emails, and social media platforms have become new and popular ways for debt collectors to reach and harass debtors.
As a result, there is currently a push for the federal government to update the FDCPA in order to protect consumers from debt collector harassment on all communication channels, including the Internet. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made — and until then, legal action must be taken.
If you have fallen victim to any of these FDCPA violations, there are many options available. However, any legal pursuit that you might be considering should be carefully examined with an attorney.
Call our Miami debt defense attorneys (link to contact) to schedule a free consolation to discuss your options.