The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) protects consumers against harassing, threatening, or deceptive debt collection tactics. This federal law applies almost exclusively to third-party debt collectors, meaning those companies who purchase or receive debts after the debts are in default with the original creditor. The FDCPA applies only to consumer debts (e.g. medical bills, credit cards, payday loans) and does not regulate the collection of business debts or certain municipal fines.
If a collector violates the FDCPA, the company will be liable for the consumer's attorney's fees and costs, plus up to $1,000 in statutory damages. The consumer may also recover actual damages (e.g. emotional distress damages, compensation for loan denials, or return of illegally garnished wages).
Below is a list of 10 common debt collection tactics that violate the FDCPA: