Are Debt Collection Attempts on Expired Debts Illegal?
Most people have a cursory familiarity with the concept of the statute of limitations. Essentially, the statute of limitations states sets an expiration date for when someone can be tried for a crime. Failure to initiate prosecution by the time the statute of limitations expires renders the as “expired” or “un-prosecutable.” The same principle exists with debts. Not much different from crimes, debts can expire as well. Expired or not, many debt collectors willfully ignore the “statute of limitations” that exists on most debt.
What is an expired debt?
If it can be proven in court, debts expire, and thereby, render any and all obligation to pay the debt back as null and void. There is a final date where the payment on the debt must be collected. There is no national standard, but for the most part, there is a localized protocol where most courts will honor attempts to collect debts, even if they’re expired, as long as a collection agency doesn’t threaten consumers with legal action.
Oftentimes, collection agencies will bluff consumers with threats of legal action, but in most cases, these have been ruled to be illegal. Aside from utilizing threats of legal action, creditors will often bombard consumers with harassing calls. While there is still a void as far as a national standard of telemarketing behavior is concerned, there does exist a more standardized set of laws in place for those looking to act against calls that won’t stop.
Legislative Protection for Consumers
Two important laws protect consumers from illicit debt collection practices. The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practice Act) and FCCPA (Florida Consumer Collections Practice Act) are two laws that outlaw and protect consumers against the lowliest of boiler room debt collection tactics. Despite the existence of these laws, it doesn’t stop low-tier collections agents from crossing the line.
The following are tactics ruled unlawful under the aforementioned legislation:
- Calling friends, neighbors, or coworkers
- Calling you while you’re at work
- Calling multiple times in a short period of time
- Threats of arrest
- Threats of legal action to collect debt
- Calling you prior to 8 AM or after 9 PM
- Calling regarding debts settled via bankruptcy
- Use of lies or deception to collect a debt
- Using vulgar, harassing, threatening, or insulting language
- Calling even after you request for calls to stop
While these are only a few of the protections for consumers against harassing collections calls, the major takeaway is that if a collections agent ever threatens you with legal action over a debt, in all likelihood, they are bluffing.
Hire a Fort Lauderdale Debt Harassment Lawyer
If a debt collector ever threatens you with legal action, you should understand you’re protected under the FDCPA or FCCPA. Don’t let debt collectors continue to harass you and your family. Make the calls stop and see if you’re eligible for compensation worth upwards of $1,000.
Call the debt harassment attorneys at the Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi. We have extensive experience defending clients against debt harassment, and we can do the same for you. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 1-844-542-7235 or complete our online contact form.