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FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was enacted in 1977 to protect consumers from abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices by third-party debt collectors. The law details when and how a collector may contact a debtor. The government enforcer of the law has historically been the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but some regulatory duties may be shared with the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection housed within the Federal Reserve, created in 2010.

The FDCPA is a strict civil liability law, which means that a consumer need not prove actual damages in order to claim statutory damages of up to $1,000 per violation plus reasonable attorney fees.

It is commonly believed that the FDCPA will be amended and/or updated in the 112th Congress (2011-2012).

The complete Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (PDF, 326 KB)

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Judge Rules that Government Debt is Covered by FDCPA, Forcing Collection Agency to Defend

A federal judge this week sided with a consumer plaintiff in denying a motion to dismiss an FDCPA class action case. The collection agency defendant argued that the debt did not fall under the FDCPA because it was incurred in a transaction required by law. The case also involves a claim concerning disclosure through a clear envelope window, a recent development that is sure to pop up more frequently.

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TCPA and FDCPA Class Action Targets New Kind of Business: Digital Rights Enforcers

The long-running legal battle between movie and music studios and consumers that illegally download their products got a novel twist late last week when a consumer attorney filed a class action lawsuit against a company tasked with enforcing the studios’ claims. The suit says that the company is acting as a debt collector and has violated the TCPA and FDCPA.

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Fallout Growing from FDCPA Decision on Proof of Claim on Time-Barred Debt

A U.S. Circuit Court decision this summer took an extraordinary step when it held that filing a proof of claim on time barred debt is conduct that violates the FDCPA. At the time, attorneys close to both bankruptcy and FDCPA proceedings warned that it would touch off a very real firestorm in that sector of the ARM industry. That has proven to be quite true.

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Judge Dismisses Third Party Disclosure FDCPA Case and Opines on Nature of the Law

A federal district judge in New York last week dismissed an FDCPA case in which a consumer claimed a collection agency unlawfully disclosed his debt to a third party. The judge not only disagreed with the allegations in the case, but noted that the law itself might be an issue, writing, “The FDCPA is clearly out of touch with modern communication technology.”

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How to Avoid FDCPA Claims of Overshadowing

Section 1692g of the FDCPA says collectors must provide a notice to consumers within five days of initial communication stating the amount of the debt, the name of the current creditor, and explaining the consumer’s right to dispute the debt and to obtain verification. You might assume that a collector can comply with that section by simply copying the language from the statute into their initial notice to consumers. Not exactly.