When in debt, you already have more than enough on your plate. Unfortunately, debt collectors often make the feeling of stress worse just by being there. Things get even more troublesome if these debt collectors do not follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Debt collectors can perform actions that the FDCPA classifies as harassing or misrepresentative. The former gets enough press, so it is important to understand the latter as well.
What is misrepresentation?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau looks into debt collector behaviors that are illegal under the FDCPA. As mentioned, the behaviors often fall into two categories: misrepresentation and harassment.
As far as misrepresentation goes, a debt collector might do this in several ways. For example, they might lie about the amount of money you owe. They do this to create an even greater sense of urgency and attempt to pressure you into making deals or seeking loans to repay debt collectors immediately.
They may also misrepresent the legal power they have. They can do this by pretending to be an attorney or having an attorney on staff when they do not. They may also make false threats about your arrest when they actually have no warrant or way of getting one.
Overlap between misrepresentation and harassment
Finally, debt collectors cannot make threats that they have no means or intention of going through with. This can include threats of arrest, but it can also include stranger threats, such as threats of physical harm or violence. This overlaps somewhat with harassing behaviors, too. If a debt collector does anything that falls in either category, you can consider pursuing legal options.