Hi folks. My name is Sergei Lemberg. I run
the law firm of Lemberg & Associates and here’s our website
StopCollector.com. There’s a lot of useful information on the website about how to stop debt
collectors and what your rights are. I want to talk to you today about five
things, five things you need to know about the FDCPA, the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, that regulates collectors. The first thing is it only applies to
third-party debt collectors. What’s a third party debt collector? Well
it doesn’t apply to banks. It doesn’t apply to credit unions. It
doesn’t apply to the gas company. It doesn’t apply to the city. It doesn’t
apply to the process servers who serve complaints. It only applies to debt collectors, people
who are collecting debts for others or who buy debts for
others. And that’s rule number one. The second
thing for you to remember is the FDCPA doesn’t stop debt collectors from being unpleasant or pushy. That’s not what it’s for. It prohibits abuse or harassment but it doesn’t prohibit debt
collectors from demanding money. It doesn’t prohibit them from engaging
you in unpleasant conversations. Debt collection is unpleasant. When
people owe money and debt collectors go after them sometimes unpleasant conversations occur.
And that’s just it. The third thing you need to know is that the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act heavily regulates what debt collectors
can do with respect to calling third parties who don’t owe the debt. Now
for third parties, well third parties are your neighbors.
Third parties are your friends. Third parties are your relatives, your
parents, your siblings, your children, anyone other than you and the rule is
very simple. If they don’t have your contact
information they can call the third parties only
once to correct or confirm your location information. In other words they
can do no more and no less then call your mother and
say, Dear Mrs. Smith, I am calling about a private matter with respect to Jonathan Smith. Is the following his correct location information or do
you know where I can find him? If asked, they have to reveal the
name of their company but what they cannot do is they cannot reveal the nature of the
call, the reason for the call, and that has to
do with the laws concerned to preserve the privacy
of the debtor to make sure that the debtor is not
embarrassed by the fact that money is owed. The fourth thing you need to know is
that the Fair Debt Collection Act doesn’t stop debt collectors from coming to your
house. Now this is an unusual collection
technique but there’s nothing inherently illegal with a debt collector coming to your
house during the day and asking that money be paid or
delivering a notice by hand. These concerns have been raised and
there’s nothing in the law to stop people from doing that. Finally,
the fifth thing you need to know is that you have
a right to stop harassment. You have a right to stop the abuse.
Don’t take it on the chin. If a debt collector is harassing or abusing
you, if they are being beyond reason rude, if they are calling a third parties, if
they are making your life miserable just because you owe a bill, pick up the phone. Give us a call
and we can help you stop it and even recover money from the debt
collector for the illegal harassment.