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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Many Californians have to buy an item they need on credit. In other situations, they may have to make payment arrangements for medical bills or bills connected with other important services.

Unfortunately, residents of this state can find themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay these debts. For instance, the loss of a job, a health problem or a family crisis can make it very difficult for a person to keep up with the finances.

Naturally, the person’s creditors want their money, so they may turn to an attorney or a professional debt collection agency to help them. While many of these debt collectors are tough but honest, others engage in behavior that can only be fairly described as harassing, deceptive and illegal. In short, some debt collectors really are engaging in unfair debt collection and even outright consumer fraud.

To defend themselves from unscrupulous debt collectors, Californians should be aware that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, offers legal protections to them. If a debt collector violates this law, then the victim of the violation may have certain legal rights to pursue compensation. Additional federal and state laws may apply as well.

The FDCPA is actually a rather complicated law which includes a number of rights and responsibilities; rules and exceptions. Perhaps the best thing someone can do is consult with an experienced attorney if he or she feels that a debt collector has behaved unfairly.

However, consumers in this state should still keep in mind that debt collectors are generally prohibited from engaging in late night phone calls, certain phone calls to one’s workplace and other harassing behaviors. Moreover, a debt collector cannot, in the name of being tough or just trying to collect a debt, lie to or deceive a debtor or play unfairly on the debtor’s fears.