Unfair Practices (15 USC 1692f)

Unfair debt collection practices are prohibited by the FDCPA. Unfair practices (15 USC 1692f) include the following, and a debt collector who who violate these rules can be sued for damages.

  1. Unfair debt collection activities – 808.
  2. Collecting only the authorized amount – 808(1)
  3. Postdated checks – 808(2)
  4. Soliciting postdated checks – 808(3)
  5. Depositing postdated check prior to date – 808(4)
  6. Telephone charges – 808(5)
  7. Prohibits threatening nonjudicial action – 808(6)
  8. Prohibits communicating by post card – 808(7)
  9. Prohibits certain communication on envelope – 808(8)

1. Section 808 prohibits a debt collector from using “unfair or unconscionable means” in his debt collection activity. It provides eight examples of unfair practices.

1. Scope. Prohibited actions are not limited to the eight subsections listed as examples of activities that violate this provision.

2. Elements of unfairness. A debt collector’s act in collecting a debt may be “unfair” if it causes injury to the consumer that is

(1) substantial,

(2) not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or competition, and

(3) not reasonably avoidable by the consumer.

2. Section 808(1) prohibits collecting any amount unless the amount is expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or is permitted by law.

1. Kinds of amounts covered. For purposes of this section, “amount” includes not only the debt, but also any incidental charges, such as collection [53 Fed. Reg. 50108] charges, interest, service charges, late fees, and bad check handling charges.

2. Legality of charges. A debt collector may attempt to collect a fee or charge in addition to the debt if either:

(a) the charge is expressly provided for in the contract creating the debt and the charge is not prohibited by state law, or

(b) the contract is silent but the charge is otherwise expressly permitted by state law.

Conversely, a debt collector may not collect an additional amount if either:

(a) state law expressly prohibits collection of the amount or

(b) the contract does not provide for collection of the amount and state law is silent.

3. Legality of fee under state law. If state law permits collection of reasonable fees, the reasonableness (and consequential legality) of these fees is determined by state law.

4. Agreement not in writing. A debt collector may establish an “agreement” without a written contract. For example, he may collect a service charge on a dishonored check based on a posted sign on the merchant’s premises allowing such a charge, if he can demonstrate that the consumer knew of the charge.

3. Section 808(2) . prohibits accepting a check postdated by more than five days unless timely written notice is given to the consumer prior to deposit

4. Section 808(3) prohibits soliciting any postdated check for purposes of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution.

Telling a debtor, “give me a post-dated check I will have you arrested” is illegal! Any similar language is also prohibited.

5. Section 808(4) prohibits depositing a postdated check prior to its date.

1. Postdated checks. These provisions do not totally prohibit debt collectors from accepting postdated checks from consumers, but rather prohibit debt collectors from misusing such instruments.

WARNING! Many collection agents use automated software that debits your account on the date of the check!

It is the recommendation of this author that you NEVER pay by post-dated checks or automatic withdrawals from a checking or savings account. This opens you to abuse and does not allow for adjustments if your budget or income changes!

6. Section 808(5) prohibits causing any person to incur telephone or telegram charges by concealing the true purpose of the communication.

1. Long distance calls to the debt collector. A debt collector may not call the consumer collect or ask a consumer to call him long distance without disclosing the debt collector’s identity and the communication’s purpose.

2. Relation to other section. A debt collector who conceals his purpose in asking consumers to call long distance may also violate section 807(11), which requires the debt collector to disclose his purpose in some communications.

7. Section 808(6) prohibits taking nonjudicial action to enforce a security interest on property, or threatening to do so, where

(A) there is not present right to the collateral,

(B) there is no present intent to exercise such rights, or

(C) the property is exempt by law.

1. Security enforcers. Because the FDCPA’s definition of “debt collection” includes parties whose principal business is enforcing security interests only for section 808(6) purposes, such parties (if they do not otherwise fall within the definition) are subject only to this provision and not to the rest of the FDCPA.

8. Section 808(7) prohibits “Communicating with a consumer regarding a debt by post card.”

1. Debt. A debt collector does not violate this section if he sends a post card to a consumer that does not communicate the existence of the debt. However, if he had not previously disclosed that he is attempting to collect a debt, he would violate section 807(11), which requires this disclosure.

9. Section 808(8) prohibits showing anything other than the debt collector’s address, on any envelope in any written communication to the consumer, except that a debt collector may use his business name if it does not indicate that he is in the debt collection business.

1. Business names prohibited on envelopes. A debt collector may not put on his envelope any business name with “debt” or “collector” in it, or any other name that indicates he is in the debt collection business. A debt collector may not use the American Collectors Association logo on an envelope.

2. Collector’s name. Whether a debt collector/consumer reporting agency’s use of his own “credit bureau” or other name indicates that he is in the collection business, and thus violates the section, is a factual issue to be determined in each individual case.

3. Harmless words or symbols. A debt collector does not violate this section by using an envelope printed with words or notations that do not suggest the purpose of the communication. For example, a collector may communicate via an actual telegram or similar service that uses a Western Union (or other provider) logo and the word “telegram” (or similar word) on the envelope, or a letter with the word “Personal” or “Confidential” on the envelope.

4. Transparent envelopes. A debt collector may not use a transparent envelope, which reveals language or symbols indicating his debt collection business, because it is the equivalent of putting information on an envelope.

If you believe you are a victim of unfair or illegal debt collection tactics, submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Lawyer by:

The debt collector may just be liable to you for statutory damages of to $1,000, plus any actual damages suffered, plus attorney fees!

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  1. Need assistance with an unfair and inaccurate credit reporting issues

  2. About a year ago I had a debt collections account with a creditor and they made a settlement payment and pay off agreement arrangements with me. As of February 2015 they towarded all consumer information and accounts to another 3 rd party collections company and they have made a negative inaccurate and incomplete reporting on my credit file which does not reflect the settlement agreement , current balance or current payment or history of payments. I contacted this company and they confirmed that the originating creditor provided them with my settlement information and current balance owed if $200. However they reported current balance owed of $684 and 120-180 days past due or more and also informed me that they did not have to report the current information, and that they are required to report old previous information. I find this hard to believe and it sounds illegal and very unethical behavior. Are they allowed to report whatever they want even if it isn’t the current status ? I thought creditors have to report ALL accurate and complete information to the bureau? The current balance was $200 and most recent payment was dec 2014 and jan 2015 is when we negotiated and set up a settlement and final pay off of $225. The payments were set for $10 or more per month. In feb 2015 I made my first payment of $25 towards the settlement balance and in April I paid the remaining balance off of $200. This 3rd party collection company reported a balance of $684 plus non payment for 120-180 days as of February 2015. This is wrong and unfair practice /behavior on their part. Please help I need assistance fast. My credit score has dropped almost 100 points because of this

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