What to do if a debt collector violates the law?

By: Sara Peterson1


If you have been placed into collections and have been dealing with a debt collector that is has been abusive are has been using illegal and unethical collection practices such as threats, abusive language, or harassment you have some options of how to deal with debt collector.

One option for a debtor is to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Federal Trade Commission can file suit in federal district court against a debt collector or collection agency that violates the law. Although they cannot file suit against every collector that receive a complaint from, they do take action against as many offenders as they can with their resources. Another option for debtors is to file a complaint with their State Attorney General or the State Office of Consumer Protection.

The state collection laws vary from state to state. All states must follow the FDCPA but some states have additional state collection laws that must be followed. Before submitting a complaint to the Attorney General or the State Office of Consumer Protection review the state laws and the FDCPA so you know exactly which laws were violated. When filing a complaint be sure to explain exactly what the collection agency’s actions were and how they violated the FDCPA and other state collection laws. If you have kept a file of all correspondence between you and the debt collection agency, you should send a copy of all of the correspondence, a timeline of telephone contact along with the complaint.

A third place to file a complaint against a collection agency is through The American Collectors Association. The American Collectors Association is a national organization that is made up for collection agencies who agree to follow the FDCPA and a set of industry standards.

In addition to filing a complaint against a debt collector or a collection agency, you may want to consider filing suit against them for violating the law. According to the FDCPA, individuals and class action plaintiffs can sue in federal or state court within a year of the violation.

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There are several debt collection attorneys that specialize in consumer debt collections and can assist you in filing suit. When hiring a debt collections attorney, you should hire an attorney that is professional and has the experience of dealing with debt collectors who have violated state and federal debt collection laws. Before you decide to move forward with filing suit consult with a debt collection attorney to review your case and to make sure it would be worth suing on.

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