Some Minnesota residents feel harassed by third-party collectors who are attempting to collect a debt that was initially owed to the original creditor. The manner in which third-party collectors may try to do so is regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which places prohibitions on the collector engaging in certain acts.
Collectors are forbidden under the FDCPA from using abusive language, threatening criminal consequences, calling repeatedly and calling outside of specified and allowable hours. They are also prohibited from discussing the debtor's account with third parties, continuing to contact the debtor after the debtor has hired an attorney for help with the debt and lying to the debtor.
The FDCPA provides a statutory damage amount of $1,000 for each violation by a third-party collector. In other words, if a collector calls repeatedly, the collector may be required to pay the debtor $1,000 for each harassing phone call. Debtors should thus record and document the calls. Answering the phone and stating simply that the call is being recorded can be enough to provide appropriate documentation of the harassing behavior. The debtor may then file a lawsuit in small claims court against the collector and will be required to notify the third-party collector of the lawsuit. Even if a judgment is obtained, however, it still will likely require further efforts to have it satisfied.
The law is in place in order to protect debtors from abusive and unfair debt collection practices. If a person has filed bankruptcy, additional violations occurring after the stay has gone into effect may be subject to different penalties.Source: Main Street, "Does a Debt Collection Agency Owe You Thousands of Dollars?", Nicholas Pell , Jan. 15, 2015