The practices of debt collection agencies are governed and regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal law that applies to every state. Some states would have additional laws on debt collection, but most would adhere to the FDCPA.  In his article, Attorney Shane A. McClelland states the importance of FDCPA and the guidelines on what debt collectors can’t do or say.past dues

Every consumer needs to know his rights under the FDCPA. And every debt collection agency must strictly meet the requirements of the FDCPA to be able to practice and operate. Passed in 1978, the FDCPA contains measures on how debt collectors should operate as well as provide some protection for consumers on unfair debt collection practices. The FDCPA lists the rights of the consumers and the guidelines that debt collectors must follow.

The law covers debt collection for household, personal, and family debts, such as mortgages and car loans. It also covers past due credit card debt, utility bills, student loans, medical bills, insurance bills, etc. This means that any debt that a consumer owed can be subject to FDCPA but it can only apply to third-party debt collectors. It does not apply to the situation when the company, where the consumer owed the amount directly, calls him at work.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector that does not follow these guidelines can be penalized. That is the reason why some credit collection agencies are advised to be careful in dealing with the consumers. A consumer, who claims he is a victim of an abusive debt collector, can be entitled to monetary damages of up to $1,000, as well as attorney’s fees and costs.

But not all people know about the FDCPA. That is the reason why consumers and debt collection agencies alike are advised to be familiar with this law. The law contains also a massive list of things debt collectors can’t do and can’t say. The list of what they can’t say or insinuate is rather long but for some for some collection companies and debt collectors who opted to ignore the laws and go for the fast and easy way to collect, the risks can be high as consumers who are aware of the law may use it against these collectors.