Fair debt collection

Fair debt collection broadly refers to regulation of the United States debt collection industry at both the federal and state level. At the Federal level, it is primarily governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In addition, many U.S. states also have debt collection laws that regulate the credit and collection industry and give consumer debtors protection from abusive and deceptive practices. Many state laws track the language of the FDCPA, so that they are sometimes referred to as mini-FDCPAs.

State regulation

U.S. state laws on fair debt collection generally fall into two categories: laws which require persons who are collecting debts from consumers to be licensed, registered or bonded in order to collect from consumers in their states, and laws that protect consumers from specific unfair practices by debt collectors, which may include collection agencies and sometimes original creditors. Many state laws--unlike the FDCPA--cover original creditors, thus providing greater protections to consumers than the Federal FDCPA.

Although not all states have such laws, the unfair practices that are prohibited generally track those that are also prohibited under the FDCPA. Some states have a complete prohibition against collecting from its residents unless the collection agency has complied with licensing or bonding, others exempt out-of-state collectors from those requirements. Examples of prohibitions of unfair practices by collectors include contacting employers after having been given notice not to do so, pretending to be a government agency, pretending to be an attorney or falsely threatening with a lawsuit. Many state fair debt collection laws also provide for a private right of action (consumers can sue the debt collector) by consumers against collectors that violate their provisions.

Collection laws

The following states have their own fair debt collection laws, which can be found here:

See also


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