Ah, the crux of the issue. What practices are prohibited by these acts? Well, there are a lot, but here are the main areas of violation.
Debt collectors may not
- tell you they are attorneys;
- misrepresent the amount of the debt;
- tell you they work for a credit bureau;
- lie about papers either being legal documents when they are not or not being legal documents when they are;
- tell you that you have committed a crime;
- tell you that you will be arrested for not paying the debt;
- tell you that they will take actions against you (ie suing you, garnishing your wages, etc…) that they do not intend to do;
- give false credit information about you to anyone;
- use a false name;
- participate in unfair practices. (These will be discussed in future posts.)
If a debt collector participates in these acts, you need to talk to an attorney about your rights. It may not always be worthwhile to pursue a claim, but you should learn your rights.