The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as been around for almost 35 years. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. Its purposes are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy. The FDCPA creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the FDCPA. The FDCPA is essentially a laundry list of what debt collects can and cannot do while collecting a debt, as well as things debt collectors must do while collecting a debt.
People should be aware that the FDCPA protects debtors and non-debtors alike. That is, everyone is protected by the FDCPA, even if you do not owe the debt. The Fourth and Eight Circuits, in Rawlinson v. Law Office of William Rudow and Dunham v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, recently held that whether or not someone owes the debt is immaterial for an FDCPA claim. The legislative history of the FDCPA supports this finding, too:
[The FDCPA] also protects people who do not owe money at all. In the collector’s zeal, collections effort[s] are often aimed at the wrong person either because of mistaken identity or mistaken facts. [The FDCPA] will make collectors behave responsibly towards people with whom they deal. Another group of people who do not owe money, but who may be deliberately harassed are the family, employer and neighbors of the consumer. These people are also protected by [the FDCPA].
If a collection agency calls you about a debt you do not owe, be sure to tell the collection agency that you do not owe the debt, and request the collection agency to stop calling you. Don’t simply hang up on the collector. You should put the collection agency on notice that you do not owe the debt, and therefore, request that the calls stop. If the collection agency continues to call you, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for help. Founding attorney, Michael Agruss, has handled over 1,500 debt collection harassment cases. Agruss Law Firm, LLC, will you help stop the harassment and get you money damages. Plus, the collection agency will pay your attorney’s fees and costs—you won’t owe us a dime.