Help Desk FAQ

Collections

 

What should I do if a collector breaks the law?

There are penalties for collectors who violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state debt collection laws. If you believe your rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the U.S. government’s two consumer protection agencies. The FTC enforces the FDCPA, while the CFPB regulates the collection industry.

CFPB: 855-411-CFPB (2372) / CFPB complaint webpage

FTC: 877-FTC-HELP / FTC Complaint Assistant

Contact your state attorney general's office to find out if the collector has violated state law. Find your state AG online.

You also may want to submit a complaint to the collection agency trade association ACA International.

Section 813 of the FDCPA provides that “individual consumers have a right of action” against a debt collector if the FDCPA is violated. This right extends for one year from the date the violation occurred.

Consumer Action recommends that you contact a lawyer who is experienced in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Visit the National Association of Consumer Advocates and search its attorney database. Many attorneys in this field will take your case on contingency, which means you would not have to pay upfront legal fees.

When dealing with a debt collector, even one that is following the law, be sure to keep notes of every phone conversation and save all correspondence. This will help you and your attorney prove your case should you need to seek legal assistance.

 

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