When interacting with debt collectors, it is important to understand what they can and cannot legally do. Unfortunately, while many are upright and forthcoming, some will still attempt to use their standing against you to lie and deceive their way into quicker payments.
It is important thusly to understand what debt collector misrepresentation is, so you can keep an eye out for potential red flags.
How debt collectors misrepresent
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looks into debt collection misrepresentation. This typically involves some form of misdirection, information withholding or even outright lying and manipulation in order to reach some goal. In these cases, the goal is often to get you to act as quickly as possible to repay debts owed.
As examples, a debt collector may lie about the amount you owe, exaggerating it to make bigger threats. They may pretend one of their staff members has legal credentials or can act as an attorney when they cannot, threatening you with legal action they cannot actually take. They may even threaten you with eviction or arrest warrants despite not actually having them.
What is the purpose of misrepresentation?
Like threats, misrepresentation serves as a way to manipulate you into complying with demands. Though it is not outright as menacing as threats, it has the same end result and negative emotional and mental impacts.
Of course, misrepresentation in any form is not legal. Thus, if you face these actions by a debt collector, you can actually take them to court. If you win the case, not only do they have to pay up for any damages done, emotional or otherwise. They also have to cover your legal fees.