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The FDCPA: What is it and how does is protect taxpayers?

collection practices act

Being in debt is a stressful circumstance that collectors can often intensify with unfair practices. Therefore, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits companies from using such practices to collect debts from you.

What Does the FDCPA Cover?

Mortgages, credit cards, medical, and personal debts are all covered by the FDCPA. The collectors that are prohibited by this act include the following:

  • Collection agencies
  • Debt buyers
  • Lawyers who regularly collect debts as part of their business
  • Other entities that buy past-due debts from creditors to collect them

The FDCPA doesn’t cover business debts. In addition, it doesn’t cover collection by the original creditor that you’re indebted to.

FDCPA Communication Restrictions

Debt collectors can’t contact you under certain circumstances.

  • Harassment: Debt collectors cannot harass you over the phone or by any other form of contact
  • Inconvenient Times: Debt collectors may not contact you at inappropriate hours or places. This includes before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. Contacting your place of work is also not allowed under the FDCPA.
  • Power of Attorney: Once you have attorney representation, the collector must cease contact with you. The attorney is now responsible as the main point of contact regarding your case. Hence, if you are contacted by a collector, you should inform them that you’re represented by an attorney and give them the attorney’s name.

Once you tell a collector to stop contacting you, they can only contact you to inform you that there will be no further contact, or to notify you that legal action (such as a lawsuit) is taking place.

Debt Information

The collector calling you for a payment is required by law to inform you about the debt. Things they should share include:

  • Identify the creditor (name and address of current or former creditor)
  • Amount owed
  • That you can dispute the debt

FDCPA and Tax Debt

The IRS must also abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You have rights as a taxpayer that restricts their communication and enforcement practices. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over $1 billion in resolved tax liabilities.  

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