What Constitutes a Violation of the FDCPA?

Collections Training Resource
August 1, 2013 — 1,624 views  
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The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) is an important aspect of the current state of our society, especially given the fact a number of people are unable to pay the full amount of their debts. The FDCPA is geared at making sure that an individual’s basic humanity is respected. It ensures that debt collection agencies do not stoop to employ any underhanded or illegal methods to recover debts that are owed.

Not Providing 'Mini-Miranda'

‘Mini-Miranda’ is one of the most essential documents in the recovery business. It is an act of disclaiming to the customer - whether in writing or over the phone - that you are being contacted in relation to the recovery of a debt. The recovery agent must also disclose that any information garnered throughout the interaction will be utilized for the sole purpose of collecting the debt. Also, the FDCPA also requires the collector to provide the ‘Mini-Miranda’ on every communication as well.

The name ‘Mini-Miranda’ was derived from the fact that it is very similar to the Miranda rights that require a law officer to warn suspects of their right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and that a court-appointed attorney will be provided to them should they not be able to afford one on their own.

Relaying a Message through Third Party

Some debt collectors use the power of social stigma and inform third parties which are not, in any way, involved with the debt about the fact that they are collecting a debt. The FDCPA rules prohibit the debt collector from informing anyone apart from the individual directly concerned with the debt about their purpose. Also, the debt-collector is not even allowed to ask a third-party to relay a message concerning the debt on their behalf in the event that they cannot reach you directly.

The debt collection agencies and their representatives are also prohibited by the FDCPA to badger you continuously in the event that you have asked them to stop getting in touch with you over the phone. The FDCPA does allow them to contact you via other means of communication such as through U.S. Mail. You could also make sure they get the message by asking them in writing to stop all communication with you. Flouting the FDCPA laws will see the debt-collector violate federal law.

Directing Misleading Communications

Misleading communication is something that a number of debt-collectors used in the past, with the sole purpose of scaring an individual into paying the debt. However, the FDCPA caught up on this and ensured that the general public is well informed of the situation instead of allowing the debt collectors to operate as fear-mongers. The FDCPA laws state that the collection agencies and their representatives are duty-bound to tell you the truth. As a result, it is important that any information you receive through these channels is then crosschecked with any financial advisor you may know. If the collection agency tells you that consolidation or even discharge of your student loans via bankruptcy is not possible (when they can be in actuality) it is a violation of federal law and should be taken seriously.

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