Debt collectors have a tricky job. They have to follow the rules outlined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), while simultaneously ensuring that they collect all the money they need.
Sometimes, debt collectors may cross the line while attempting to do their job. This is the case with debt collector misrepresentation.
Harassment vs. misrepresentation
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look at debt collector misrepresentation. This consists of a subset of behaviors barred under the FDCPA which may not necessarily involve harassment but sometimes does.
When most people think of illegal actions debt collectors take, they usually think of actions that fall under harassment. This includes doing things like physically threatening to harm the person who owes money or calling their house at all hours to irritate and unnerve them.
Misrepresentation and its related tactics are often harder to spot because they are more subtle in many cases. These tactics involve lying or presenting something in an untrue or incorrect way in order to get a person to pay up faster.
Common types of misrepresentation
For example, a debt collector may pretend they are a lawyer and may act the part when their colleagues threaten to take their target to court. A debt collector may also impersonate a police officer in an attempt to menace the victim as well, even going so far as to threaten to evict them or throw them in jail.
Though not as bombastic as harassment techniques, these tactics can still ruin a person’s peace of mind and upset their daily life. This is why it is illegal under the FDCPA and sufferers can take action accordingly.