When you fall into debt, it can feel like the whole world is out to get you. These feelings only get exacerbated by the debt collectors who toe the line and cross over from persistence into harassment.
But did you know that you have other protections under the law from debt collectors that go beyond blatant harassment?
FDCPA protections from misrepresentation
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines debt collector misrepresentation and harassment, along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects people like you from suffering through the unfair and cruel practices of debt collectors trying to get your money. It protects you from harassment, but it also protects you from misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation differs from harassment in several ways. First of all, harassment often involves repetitive behaviors intended to annoy, agitate or frighten you. Debt collectors engaging in harassing behaviors will likely lean into extremes as well, such as delivering threats about your potential future as a homeless individual.
What does misrepresentation look like?
On the other hand, misrepresentation relies on a deliberate false presentation of facts. For example, a debt collector may pretend they are also an attorney and threaten you with legal action that they either cannot take, or that is not even possible.
They may do the same thing with law enforcement, claiming to have a warrant out for your arrest when they do not and cannot get one. The FDCPA also protects you from threats made without the intention or ability to carry them out.
Finally, debt collectors may try to prompt you into paying them back faster by making your debt seem much worse than it actually is. Naturally, this intentional skewing of numbers also falls under this category and the FDCPA offers you protection here, too.