This federal law applies to debt collection agents, attorneys or companies pursuing payment of debts on behalf of the third parties that issued the original loans. The FDCPA grants rights to consumers in North Carolina that protect them from harassment, false statements and unfair practices. Most forms of personal and household debts fall under the purview of this law. Examples include medical bills, credit card accounts and auto loans.
The law restricts contact with debtors via telephone or text to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Debt collectors should honor requests by debtors not to call them at their workplaces. Additionally, a debtor has the right to inform a collector in writing to cease contact. Collectors are legally obligated to comply with this written notice; although, other legal means of collecting a debt may be subsequently initiated when possible.
Collection agents must not target debtors with threats of violence, arrest or other intimidating acts like publicly publishing the debtor’s name and debt. The law also prohibits the use of obscene language. Only statements of true intent regarding legal action must be made. Threats about property seizure, unless real, cannot be made in an attempt to intimidate. Collectors must not seek money in excess of what is legally allowed or deposit post-dated checks.
Observing the tenets of the FDCPA is important so that creditors do not jeopardize their ability to collect debts legally. An attorney could offer guidance that aids collections efforts and limits the possibility that a debtor could use consumer law to avoid payment. A creditor could also assign debt collection to an attorney, who could take action in accordance with federal law to recover unpaid debts. An attorney might try to file a lawsuit and gain a judgment approving the seizure of funds or property.