California outdoes the rest of the country in its debt collection rights for consumers.
Debt collectors have noticed the growing understanding of debtors about their rights to fair debt collection.
And they aren’t happy.
The Federal law Fair Debt Collection Practices Act regulates the conduct of third party collectors. Those protections apply everywhere and more and more attorneys are learning how to assert those rights on behalf of their clients.
But the FDCPA applies only to the hired debt collector. It doesn’t apply to the original creditor.
So, under federal law, original creditors are free from federal scrutiny.
California’s Fair Debt Collection Act
It’s better in California.
Californians have an expanded set of rights as debtors under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Act: this law applies the rights created in the federal FDCPA to the original creditor as well as the third party collector.
One of the most useful aspect of the California statute is the right it creates to be left alone: the right to be free of collection calls and letters.
You have to claim that right not to be contacted, though. Like most things in the law, to be effective, your claim for peace needs to be in writing.
There are a couple of limited exceptions for things creditors can contact you about, but overall, the Rosenthal Act empowers the debtor to escape incessant collection efforts.
Understand the weapons of a debt collector
The Rosenthal Act doesn’t eliminate your liability for your debt. It doesn’t keep the creditor or collector from suing you.
But it does prevent them from using tactics that are harassing and intimidating short of a law suit. At least, if they actually do file suit, there are rules and judges to make them play by the rules.
Exercising your right to debt collection protection
If you need freedom from creditors or debt collectors, write them invoking your right not to be contacted; cite the Rosenthal Act.
Use the CFPB model collection defense letters as a guide
Date your letter; sign it; keep a copy, and send it off, by a form of delivery that gets you a receipt showing they got it: US mail, return receipt requested; Fed Ex, or something similar.
Two things may happen: the creditor obeys the law and you get peace at home; or they violate the law, and you have a right to sue for the violation, including the right to collect your attorneys fees to do so.
Won’t the role reversal of debtor becoming creditor really make the collectors mad?
Image: grin and openclipart.