6 Quick Signs that a debt collector is in violation of the TCPA:
1. Contacting your work, friends or family
According to TCPA law:
Debt collectors must not disclose any details or even the existence of your debt to parties other than yourself, or appointed representatives.
If a debt collector calls your boss, colleagues, friends, family or anyone else other than yourself in pursuit of the debt….
They are violating TCPA law.
They may only contact those other parties to obtain your contact information to get in touch with you.
2. Making false claims (lying)
It is strictly forbidden for debt collectors to make false statements or provide misleading information.
Here are the top 10 lies unethical debt collectors have been known to say: (These statements are false)
- “Claiming bankruptcy will not discharge your debt.”
- “We will flag your social security number.”
- “We can’t tell you where the debt came from.”
- “Just make a small payment today, and we’ll stop contacting you.”
- “I’m calling on behalf of the police department/government.”
- “I do not have to prove the debt to you. You have an outstanding debt, and you know it.”
- “I will take your assets, even if you file for bankruptcy.”
- “If you pay off your debt today, your credit rating will improve immediately.”
- “I’ll have you arrested if you don’t pay.”
- “We will garnish your income if you don’t agree to pay your debt.”
If a debt collector says any of these things to you (or similar), contact your lawyer immediately.
3. Debt Collectors Using Profanity
All debt collectors are trained to speak confidently and with authority.
However, some step over the line.
Certain debt collectors will try using abusive, psychological and emotional tactics…
…and say anything to get your money.
You never have to tolerate that kind of language from a debt collector.
Whether it is the use of curse words, racial or prejudiced statements, or even a crude reference to bodily organs…
Abusive and obscene language is straight-forward harassment and punishable by law.
(No matter whether you owe a debt or not)
4. Using an auto or robo-dialer
The use of auto-dialers or predictive dialers to call cell phones is in violation of the TCPA.
Here are signs that a debt collector is using illegal automated dialing equipment:
- There is a silence at the beginning of the call. This is when the computer registers that you have picked up and patches you through to the debt collector.
- You hear an automated message when answering the call.
- The debt collector seems to call at highly predictable times, every time. This indicates the calls are autodialed.
- You have many missed calls from the same number in one day.
5. Calling you at odd times, or at work
Debt collectors are prohibited from calling you before 8 am or after 9 pm.
If a debt collector calls you outside these hours…
You may be entitled to up to $1,000 in damages per call.
It is also considered harassment if a debt collector calls you at a place that is of inconvenience to you.
At your place of work, or a friend or family member’s residence.
6. Contacting you without your express consent
Express consent is exactly what it sounds like:
Debt collectors must not contact you unless they have your approval.
Here’s a quick 2-minute video explaining express consent in detail: