A “debt collector,” as defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act [“FDCPA”], is a person or a business that regularly collects debts owed to another. Still, this definition does not fully explain what a debt collector is.
Most first-party creditors [credit card company or bank] or lenders will try to collect debts themselves before resorting to writing it off. Typically, past-due accounts won’t be charged off until they’re 120 to 180 days late.
After a consumer defaults on a loan, the account is sent to a third-party debt collector or buyer [hereinafter referred to as “debt collector”]. The debt collector then attempts to collect on the debt, rather than the first-party creditor or lender to whom the debt is originally owed.
The collection agencies and attorneys who collect these debts as part of their regular course of business are considered debt collectors. Also included are businesses that buy past-due debts from creditors or other companies and then try to collect them.
The debt collection market is significant and affects many people. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [“CFPB”] states that around one-third of consumers with a credit bureau file reported contact from at least one debt collector.
The FDCPA is the main federal statute regulating the consumer debt collection market. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from engaging in certain types of behavior [such as misrepresentation or harassment] when seeking to collect debts from consumers and grants consumers the right to dispute or stop some communications about an alleged debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers personal, family, and household debts, including hospital bills, credit cards, and car loans.
If a debt collector is contacting you, you need to speak to a consumer’s rights lawyer.
Contact Diwan Law at 404-635-6883 for a free case evaluation.