The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Pub. The FDCPA broadly defines a debt collector as "any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another." While the FDCPA generally applies only to third party debt collectors—not internal collectors for an "original creditor"—some states, such as California, have similar state consumer protection laws which mirror the FDCPA, and regulate original creditors.
It is sometimes used in conjunction with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
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§ 1692 –1692p, approved on September 20, 1977 (and as subsequently amended) is a consumer protection amendment, establishing legal protection from abusive debt collection practices, to the Consumer Credit Protection Act, as Title VIII of that Act.
In addition, some federal courts have ruled that a collector of debt is not a "creditor" but is rather a "debt collector" under the FDCPA where the collector of debt buys defaulted debt from an original creditor for the purpose of debt collection.
The definitions and coverage have changed over time. section 1692a(6)(C)." In 1998, however, Congress amended the Internal Revenue Code by adding a new section 6304, "Fair Tax Collection Practices," which refers to and includes certain rules that are similar to some provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The FDCPA itself contains numerous exceptions to the definition of a "debt collector," particularly after the October 13, 2006, passage of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006. to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of his official duties' from the definition of 'debt collector.' 15 U. Aggrieved consumers may also file a private lawsuit in a state or federal court to collect damages (actual, statutory, attorney's fees, and court costs) from third-party debt collectors.
Attorneys, originally explicitly exempted from the definition of a debt collector, have been included (to the extent that they otherwise meet the definition) since 1986. invocation of the Fair Debt Collection Act is entirely without merit, as the statute expressly excludes 'any officer or employee of the United States . The FDCPA is a strict liability law, which means that a consumer need not prove actual damages in order to claim statutory damages of up to $1,000 plus reasonable attorney fees if a debt collector is proven to have violated the FDCPA.
The FDCPA's definitions of "consumers" and "debt" specifically restricts the coverage of the act to personal, family or household transactions. The collector may, however, escape penalty if it shows that the violation (or violations) was unintentional and the result of a "bona fide error" that occurred despite procedures designed to avoid the error at issue.
Thus, debts owed by businesses (or by individuals for business purposes) are not subject to the FDCPA. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit stated that the taxpayer's: ". Alternatively, if the consumer loses the lawsuit and the court determines that the consumer filed the case in bad faith and for the purposes of harassment, the court may then award attorney's fees to the debt collector.
Some consumer groups argue that the FDCPA does not go far enough, and does not provide sufficient deterrence against unscrupulous collection agencies.
Consumer groups have complained that the maximum statutory damages contained in the original 1977 version of the law has not kept up with inflation; ,000 in 1977 dollars is worth 05 today.
Conversely, many in the credit industry and some courts have taken the stance that the FDCPA has often been used to file frivolous lawsuits and seek damages for minor technical violations and has, at times, seriously impeded their ability to collect valid debts.
Given the strict liability nature of the FDCPA, the collections industry and the insurance companies who provide liability coverage for them have repeatedly lobbied Congress to relax provisions of the law to reduce their civil exposure for these "hyper-technical" violations.