The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from engaging in abusive debt collection tactics. The federal law specifically forbids the following abuses:
Further, debt collectors owe affirmative duties to consumers. They must provide certain information to consumers regarding a debt, including: (1) the amount of the debt; (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed; (3) a statement that unless the consumer disputes the debt within 30 days after notice of the debt, the debt collector will assume the debt is valid; (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the 30 day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will send the consumer verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment; and, (5) a statement that the debt collector will provide upon request the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. Debt collectors must also identify themselves as debt collectors in all phone calls and letters.
If a debt collector fails to discharge these duties, or otherwise engages in abusive conduct, it can be liable to the consumer for damages.