I am not a lawyer, I am a judgment referral expert (Judgment Broker). The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) are a set of laws regulating (among other things) how one may communicate with debtors.
FDCPA laws are both a guide and a code of conduct for debt collectors. Generally, the FDCPA protects debtors from creditors, and gives debtors rights and remedies for any creditor violations.
As with many laws, the complete set of FDCPA laws are lengthy and difficult to understand. Some of the most important sections specify that creditors must be careful not to tell people about the judgment debtor’s debt.
One must avoid any form of improper disclosures. You can inform the debtor’s spouse as per “section 805”. However, you should not tell the debtor’s boss the debtor owes a debt, and you cannot put “debt or judgment collector” on envelopes mailed to the debtor, etc.
Another important part of the FDCPA laws specify that you may not threaten (or even mention to a debtor) any action that you are not fully ready and legally able to perform. For example, you cannot tell a debtor that they may lose their home, unless you really can and will cause that to happen.
Some Judgment Enforcers debate that when one buys a judgment and enforces it, they are not a third-party debt collector, and may not have to worry about following the FDCPA laws.
However, most Judgment Enforcers follow the FDCPA laws because they are generally common sense, are somewhat vague, and the penalties for not following them can be severe.
Also, sometimes what you do and call yourself does not matter; the laws still apply (often as the argument of the debtor’s lawyer) to you, even if you think they do not. Better to say to the debtor or their lawyer “I intend to or one of my options is to consider…” rather than I will. That way there is no extortion and no promise to perform some action.
That said, I think the FDCPA laws can hurt debtors, because they may prevent them from “smelling the coffee” and paying, before a serious recovery remedy is taken. The FDCPA laws sometimes hurts the consumers (debtors) they were intended to protect.
For example, a Judgment Enforcer can arrange to have the sheriff seize and sell a judgment debtor’s vehicle with no prior notice to the judgment debtor. In some states, when this is done, the creditor gets the vehicle, and the debtor still has to pay off the vehicle loan!
The FDCPA laws prevent one from contacting the debtor and communicating anything remotely like “it would be in your best interest to work out a payment arrangement with me. If you do not, something bad is going to happen in the next few weeks”. This may be completely true, but communicating that can be considered a “threat” under the FDCPA laws.
If one communicates to a judgment debtor “if they do not start paying, you are going to have the sheriff take seize their vehicle and sell it”, the judgment debtor will probably hide their vehicle. Many times, such wordings would cause many debtors to set up a payment plan to avoid having their car seized. However, in some cases, such wordings could be used by the judgment debtor against you, alleging a FDCPA violation.
Because of the FDCPA, Judgment Enforcers are better off simply having the sheriff seize the judgment debtor’s property or vehicle by surprise, than to use this potential possibility to encourage the judgment debtor to “smell the coffee” and set up a payment plan. ——– John Adams – Judgment Referral Expert – http://www.JudgmentBuy.com – where Judgments go to get Enforced!