Collection agencies are notorious for skirting the law when trying to collect the money that’s owed them. Non-English speaking and low income individuals are frequently the target of their illegal and deceptive practices. But anyone who’s had an account sent to collection could find themselves their target. If you’ve fallen victim to any of their shady habits, you do have recourse.
Some of the common practices employed by collection agencies are to use profanity, intimidation, or threats to extract money from debtors. They have even been known to impersonate law personnel or falsity documents in their quest to extort money. Sometimes they have even pulled the adult children or parents of debtors into the fray. None of these practices are allowed. Even debtors have rights and those rights are protected specifically under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Act provides recourse for those who have been the victim of repeated violations, especially if they have a witness. If you can prove your rights were violated, you can even sue or possibly receive punitive damages.
If you have been the victim of an overzealous collection agency, you owe it to yourself and others to hold them accountable for their misdeeds. Do this by lodging a formal complaint right away with the proper authorities. Not only will that help prevent further victims, but it could lead to the forgiveness of your entire debt.
The agencies you want to contact to pursue a complaint are the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state’s Consumer Protection Agency (CPA). Your original creditor might also be interested to hear about any particularly outrageous conduct by the collection agency because they can be held liable for their behavior in some cases.
The first thing to do is send a letter to your creditor outlining the specific violations made by the collection agency. Communicate your willingness to waive any further legal action in exchange for forgiveness of your entire debt, plus removal of anything negative related to it on your credit report. This could end the matter because most creditors don’t want to risk the potential embarrassment and damage to their reputation from a lawsuit.
Victims of abuse by overzealous collection agencies have specific legal protections. When pursuing a complaint, make sure any violations have been fully documented and that you have a witness, if possible. Creditors can be held responsible for the illegal actions of collection agencies made on their behalf. Standing up for yourself if you have fallen prey to an unscrupulous collection agency can benefit both other potential victims, as well as your wallet.