How to Deter Abusive Debt Collection Practices

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The following is excerpted from “FTC- Debt Collection”; http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0149-debt-collection and “Consumer Collection Practices”, posted on the State of Connecticut Department of Banking website: http://www.ct.gov/dob/cwp/view.asp?a=2235&q=297910

WHAT ARE ABUSIVE DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES?

A debt collection agency may resort to abusive methods in order to try to force a debtor to make payment to their creditor(s). Examples of such methods are:

WHAT IS THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT?

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was passed by Congress to stop abusive debt collectors and promote fair debt collection practices. Under the act, debt collectors are prohibited from:

The full text of the Act can be accessed at the Federal Trade Commission website:
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf

HOW DO I STOP A DEBT COLLECTOR FROM HARASSING ME?

You can write a letter telling the debt collector to stop their contacts. Once they receive the letter, the debtor can no longer contact you, except to state that there will be no longer be any contacts or to notify that the creditor or debt collector will take specific actions to collect payment. NOTE: Sending such a letter to a consumer collection agency does not make your debt go away if you actually owe it. You can still be sued by your original creditor. In Connecticut, some debts have a six-year statute of limitations. After that period, the debt is still collectible, but collectors lose the right to sue over the debt. However, if you make a payment, the statute of limitations is renewed for another six years and collectors re-gain the right to sue for payment.

If you do not believe that you owe a debt, you can send a letter to the debt collector stating that you do not owe them any money. However, they may resume collection activities if they can send you proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill.

WHERE DO I FILE A COMPLAINT ABOUT A DEBT COLLECTOR?

Complaints about harassment or unfair treatment by a debt collector can be filed with:

If you believe that the debt collector has broken the law, you can sue in state or federal court within one year of the violation. If you win, you can recover money for damages, plus an additional amount up to $1,000. A group of people can sue a collection agency for damages up to $500,000 or one percent of the debt collector’s net worth, whichever is less.

The State of Connecticut Department of Banking maintains a list of licensed collection agencies at its website: www.ct.gov/dob/cwp/view.asp?a=2233&q=297872&dobNAV_GID=1663

TO FIND PROVIDERS IN CONNECTICUT’S COMMUNITY RESOURCES DATABASE:

Search by agency name:

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SOURCES: Better Business Bureau of Connecticut website; Federal Trade Commission website; State of Connecticut Department of Banking website
PREPARED BY: 211/pt
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: July2017