Does the FDCPA Apply to Me? Print E-mail
Written by Kerry S. Doolittle   
Friday, 09 April 2010

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or "FDCPA" applies to efforts to collect "consumer debts" from natural persons, i.e. debts arising from personal, family, or household purposes. It does not apply when the Debtor is a corporation or partnership. It does not apply to debts arising from commercial transactions. It does not apply to alimony, support claims, personal injury and property damage claims, unpaid taxes, or fines.  Even student loans get special treatment.

 A "debt collector" is defined as any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business, the principal business of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects, or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or asserted to be owed or due another. This can include attorneys and any creditor in the process of collecting his own debts if he uses a name other than his own (suggesting that a third party is collecting).

 A "consumer" means any natural person obligated to pay a debt, but for purposes of communications includes the spouse, parent (if a minor), guardian, executor, or administrator.

 If you regularly collect debts from individuals, then you should follow the FDCPA's rules to avoid unnecessary trouble or inconvenience. Whenever in doubt, err on the side of caution.

Kerry S. Doolittle

Last Updated ( Friday, 09 April 2010 )
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