Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), a consumer is afforded rights which protect them from unfair and/or deceptive collection practices. The FDCPA protects a consumer from the conduct of a collection agency but not from the conduct of an original creditor, the entity to which the debt was initially owed. Often times, consumers ask what they can do to protect themselves from over zealous creditors
attempting to collect a debt when they are not protected by the FDCPA. There are a few instances in which a creditor can be held accountable for its actions under the FDCPA.
The first instance in which a creditor may be sued under the FDCPA is when it fails to identify itself as an original creditor and instead claims to be a separate collection agency. By example, if a debt is owed to
Creditor A and Creditor A calls daily at your place of employment despite your repeated requests to cease all contact at your office, and when calling refers to itself with a different company name, it may be held accountable for its actions under 15 U.S.C. §1692c(a)(3).
The second instance in which an original creditor may be liable under the FDCPA is when it uses a “flat rating company” to collect a debt. A “flat rating company” is one that is hired by the original creditor for a
nominal amount to draft and mail initial collection letters on the original creditor’s behalf. If the debtor is misled to believe that the flat rating company is collecting on behalf of the original creditor, the debtor may hold both the original creditor and the flat rating company accountable for any violations that may occur under the FDCPA. The creditor, though they may be using another company to send its letters, if they are actually controlling the collection process while using this other company, they can be held liable.
The third and final situation in which an original creditor may be liable under the FDCPA is under state laws. Several states have enacted their own laws governing the conduct of debt collection whether it is by
a collection agency or an original creditor. To find out if your state has laws which protect you from the conduct of an original creditor check your state’s statutes.
When you’re being pursued by debt collectors, you have rights, and we’re here to help. SmithMarco, P.C. has been protecting consumer rights since 2005. If you feel that you’re rights have been violated, please contact us for a free case review.