Federal debt collection laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA for short) generally prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or unconscionable debt collection tactics when trying to collect a consumer debt.
In addition to these prohibitions, the FDCPA requires debt collectors to notify consumers of certain rights.
In its first communication with a consumer (or within five days of it), a debt collector must disclose:
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is alleged to be owed;
(3) a statement that unless, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, the consumer disputes the validity of the debt, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector (not the court);
(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt; and
(5) a statement that, upon written verification request made within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the name and address of the original creditor if it is different from the current creditor.
If a debt collector is notified in writing, within the thirty-day period that the debt is disputed, or that request is made for the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector must cease collection of the debt until the debt collector obtains the demanded information.
If the debt collector is unable to verify the debt, they are likely precluded from attempting to collect the debt, contacting the consumer about the debt, and reporting it to the credit bureaus
A second disclosure required by the FDCPA is that in each and every communication with a consumer, a debt collector must advise that the communication is in fact from a debt collector who is attempting to collect a debt. This disclosure requirement is often called in the debt collection industry the “mini-miranda” warning harkening back to the warning a criminal suspect is read upon arrest. The mini-miranda requirements apply to collection agencies, debt buyers and even debt collection lawyers (except for court papers).
The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum represents consumers who have not been provided with FDCPA disclosures. In appropriate cases, we sue debt collectors and debt collection law firms in Federal District Court for violations of the FDCPA. Because the FDCPA is fee shifting (meaning that the debt collector pays our legal fees), we don’t charge our FDCPA clients a penny out of pocket.
If you have questions, concerns, or legal needs regarding unlawful debt collection practices, we urge you to contact The Law Offices of Robert J. Nahoum, P.C. today by calling 845-232-0202.