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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)


The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is the federal fair debt act and outlines what information debt collectors can gather on you. It contains specific rules on how debt collectors can communicate with you at home and at work. These bill collector rules are designed to protect you from abuse, harassment, false and misleading tricks and illegal debt collector tactics.

The FDCPA provides for money damages to consumers victimized by a debt collector’s illegal tactics.  You may be entitled to statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
This is the entire FDCPA and it’s rather large so it may take awhile to download. You may find it easier to view each chapter individually using the links below.

Collection Terms and Definitions – Chapter 3
Fair debt collection practices act terms and definitions. Knowledge is power! Review these terms in order to fully understand your rights.

3rd Party Contact and Information Gathering Rules – Chapter 4
Fair debt collection practices act includes specific rules for collectors trying to gather location information about you such as your address or home and work phone numbers – see what’s legal and what’s not!

Collection Calls and Communication Rules – Chapter 5
The act prohibits debt collectors from communicating with you by phone before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. and from calling you on certain days. The fair debt collection practices act also prohibits certain calls to third parties.

Harassment & Abuse Tactics – Chapter 6
The debt practices act prohibits tactics such as verbal harassment and the use of threats, obscene, profane, or abusive language and repeated calls designed to scare you into paying.

False & Misleading Tactics; sixteen examples- Chapter 7
The fair debt act outlines sixteen false and misleading tactics used by collectors to intimidate you. It also prohibits threatening arrest, imprisonment and seizure of funds or property through garnishment or wage attachment and/or the sale of your personal property.

Unfair Collection Practices – Chapter 8
The law prohibits the collection of more than the authorized amount, certain uses of post-dated checks, sending post-cards, and certain envelopes. Violators can be personally sued in civil court up to $500,000!

Validating Debts after Initial Notification – Chapter 9
Debt collectors must, within 5 days of their initial contact, provide you with specific information and documents including a description of your right to dispute the debt and how to go about it.

Debt Payments Applied to Accounts – Chapter 10
When you owe more than one debt to the same collector, your payments must be applied to the account you specify, rather than the account the collector specifies.

Where Debt Collector have to file lawsuits – Chapter 11
Debt collectors who intend to take legal action against you, must do so in the judicial district in which the property is located, where you signed the contract, or where you reside, depending on the type of debt!

Deceptive Collection Letters and Forms – Chapter 12
Debt collectors who use official-looking forms that appear to be from a court, police, state or federal agency can face substantial penalties in civil court!

Civil Liability for violation of the FDCPA – Chapter 13
Debt collectors who fail to comply with any provision of the law can be personally sued for damages ranging from $1,000 up to $500,000!

FDCPA – additional chapters
These are general information chapters that outline the FDCPA and federal responsibilities.

If you believe you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, and/or need assistance with your debt problems: