Debt collectors must abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and leave people like you alone when you are suffering under debt. Despite that, they may sometimes still engage in harassing or misrepresentative behaviors.
Many guides discuss how to spot and handle debt collector harassment. But what about debt collector misrepresentation?
Lying and threats
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look at potential ways in which debt collectors can misrepresent themselves. First, they can misrepresent the debt that you owe. They can make the amount seem larger than it actually is. They can make false threats for your arrest when they have no warrant or reason to obtain one. They can pretend to be an attorney even when they do not have any legal power.
Threats also often fall under both harassment and misrepresentation. Vulgar, crass language or threats of harm fall under harassment. But threats of acting in a way that is not legally feasible fall under misrepresentation. Debt collectors also cannot threaten to do things that they have no intention of following through on.
The impact of misrepresentations
Misrepresentation is just as big of a deal as harassment. Why? Because it can still end up causing emotional distress or damage to the victim. Any false, misleading or deceptive practices utilized by a debt collector can count as misrepresentation because of this.
Note that if you take a debt collector to court and win the case, they often must pay reparations. In addition, judges also often order them to cover your legal costs, too. This can make it easier for people like you to seek the protection and compensation you deserve.