Collection Law Info in Plain English

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    i got the migrane under some control and have been looking up some things online. I came across some great info on debt collection laws that uses language that normal people can understand fairly easily. At least I could anyway.

    recently there was some discussion of what ifs in regard to collecton agencies, it may have been on a a sub abuse thread. it seemed to me that a lot of people didn't know their rights and the rules regarding what a collector can and can't do. sadly, in my opinion their are a lot of collectors who don't know the laws ordon't care. I know a lot of collection agencies do awful training and violate laws every day.

    Here is the list of laws from the site

    Creditors must comply with laws governing collection practices such as the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These laws prohibit unfair or misleading practices to collect a debt.
    What Acts Violate Collection Laws?

    • Repeated phone calls and calling too early or late is against collection law. Calling after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. is accepted.
    • Using intimidation (threats, violence, abusive language) to collect on a debt.
    • Creditors or collections agents cannot pretend to be someone else such as a law enforcement officer. He or she must reveal his true identity to you.
    • Creditors or Collection agencies cannot send out notices that look like official court summons or documents. Letters must have the appearance of normal business documents. They cannot give the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government agency or attorney-at-law.
    • Collection agencies cannot demand any collection fees, attorney fees, court costs, or other expense unless it is justly due. An expense is justly due only if it has been set out in your contract with the creditor.
    • A creditor cannot threaten to turn an account over to a collection agency or take legal action unless this is the usual course of business. This kind of action may not be used as a threat.
    • Furnishing information about a debtor without permission, except to individuals and groups with a specific interest, such as credit reporting agencies, banks, and other creditors. You also cannot disclose or threaten to disclose information concerning a debt known to be disputed by the debtor without disclosing that fact.

    Given the financial burdens of raising difficult children, I just thought it might be helpful to one of us or a friend/loved one.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I wasnt exactly in the collections business. It was part of my job just a bit in the fraud dept but because it was government, I think we sort of took things a bit liberally. Actually, I never really worried to hard about the collections, that was just mailing letters out. Now building the fraud cases was what was fun, for me I may have used some of those lovely tricks to find some of my naughty clients when they didnt want to tell Social Services the truth about their lives. I have been known to stake out their homes, go talk to their neighbors, pretend to be from Rentacenter and need them to be a reference for someone. I only wish that the internet was available on my computer with all this google map stuff back then!

    I loved, loved loved it.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Janet, social services has their own set of rules, I am sure. this is just for regular, run of the mill collectors. The government has different rules. just like the IRS can call anytime they want and political candidates can call even if you are on the do not call registry.

    what you did in the fraud dept sounds like fun, actually. Sort of like being a cop with-o having to attend the police academy!
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie it was so much fun. It ended up being my dream job. When I first started I was a regular caseworker who helped clients get TANF checks which is the welfare checks and shortly after that food stamps combined with the TANF checks so that people didnt have to go to two departments to apply for each thing. When you applied for TANF, you got your check, your food stamps and medicaid all together.

    Soon after that, I was placed in a unit that worked with clients that had gone to work but were still eligible for up to 9 months of TANF checks if they reported their jobs within a timely manner. They would also get child care started immediately. It was to promote working instead of sitting on the dole.

    Within two years of being employed I got hired into the Fraud Department when they got a grant from the government to increase the size of the department in order to crack down on fraud in Social Services. I loved it. Sometimes we worked with the Department of Agriculture who actually is the one who investigates food stamps on a county and state level. This is working on cracking down with stores who buy food stamps or sell things that shouldnt be bought with food stamps. We would go in undercover and attempt to buy things with food stamps that shouldnt be bought or watch people sell their food stamps at little stores. You would be amazed at these little stores that had almost zero inventory but took in thousands and thousands of dollars of food stamps each month but the inventory every month of food stuff never changed. We would go in every month and the cans of food was dusty and out of They were selling gas and beer and tee shirts with food stamps. We loved busting them.

    We had a program when we went to EBT cards that would show us what people bought and we could see how people bought a whole cart of food at one register and then not ten minutes later bought another whole cart of food at another register. We would go to that store and pull the videos and often see another person using the same card. Or see another person handing the cardholder money in the store! Perfectly understandable to forget a loaf of bread or an item or two and half to run back in for something but not two entire carts in 5 or 10 minutes. That means someone else is also shopping and the cardholder just goes back and grabs the cart and hits another line to go through.

    Oh the stories I could tell!

    And for anyone to think I would give up that job that I adored just to sit here at home, in pain, making about 1/4th of what I made there is out of their ever loving mind.