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What is debt collector misrepresentation?

When dealing with debt collectors, it is unfortunately not impossible that one may attempt to overstep the boundaries set by the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA).

One of the ways they may attempt to do this is through the use of misrepresentation. But what does this mean?

Harassment vs. misrepresentation

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses debt collector misrepresentation. This differs significantly from harassment but also overlaps in certain ways.

Harassment typically involves bigger and more obvious actions of intimidation. Misrepresentation often uses manipulative tactics with more subtlety. However, both aim to separate a person from their money, forcing them to find potentially dangerous ways to cover debts in order to pay them off faster.

Common manipulative tactics

Some of the most common misrepresentation tactics involve making the debt collection agency seem like it has more power than it does. For example, a member of the agency may pretend they are a police officer or an attorney.

They could then proceed to threaten the target, saying they may end up arrested or taken to court if they continue refusing to pay up some amount of the owed money.

Another common tactic involves lying about the amount owed. Debt collectors sometimes exaggerate the debt in order to make the target feel like it is a more pressing problem.

Of course, any of these actions still count as a violation of the FDCPA. This means the target of these tactics can take action against their aggressors, taking them to court and even gaining financial compensation for their struggles.


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