Debt Collector and Creditor Conduct
Debt collectors may not harass or abuse consumers, nor provide misleading information – for instance claiming to represent a government agency.
Debt collectors engage in various forms of unscrupulous conduct in their attempts to collect a debt. Debt collectors themselves come in a form of pure debt collection agencies, law firms, debt buyers and other similar entities. Federal law requires that debt collector, and whatever form they take, disclose to the consumer that they have certain rights to validate and verify the debt. Lack of that disclosure triggers the protections of the Federal Law. Many cases against debt collectors involve outright harassment of the consumer in a strong-arm attempt to collect the debt. Such conduct is also illegal, though harder to prove, as harassment usually takes the form of oral communication over the phone or perhaps with third parties like a family member, a neighbor or an employer. The law prohibits a debt collector's contact with these other third-parties regarding an alleged consumer debt. Debt collectors and their process servers are regularly challenged for not properly serving consumers with the initial lawsuit papers ("sewer service") allowing them to obtain quick judgments against a consumer whether or not the consumer is actually the right person sued, or whether he/she truly owes the alleged debt. A consumer may first learn of the debt, whether valid or not, when their bank account is frozen or their wages are garnished, or some other asset taken by enforcement of the illicit judgment.
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