The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates the conduct of debt collectors. Lenders collecting their own debts in their own name are not considered debt collectors under the FDCPA. If an entity is considered a debt collector under the Act, then it must follow the rules set forth in the FDCPA. For example, debt collectors cannot lie to you to collect a debt. They cannot use abusive language, insult you, or threaten you with actions that they cannot legally take. Debt collectors cannot discuss your debts with anyone other than you or your authorized representative.
Violations of the Act carry a statutory penalty of $1,000.00, and could also entitle the consumer to recover actual damages, attorney's fees, and possibly punitive damages. The biggest problem that most consumers encounter is that they have not properly documented the improper contacts from the debt collector. Properly documenting phone calls means keeping track of the day and time of the call. If possible, then it is also a good idea to record phone calls from debt collectors. However, recording phone calls can expose you to legal liability; it is always wise to obtain the debt collector's permission to record the call. If debt collectors are sending you mail, then it is important to save both the letter and the postmarked envelope.