When dealing with debt collectors, misrepresentation is likely not the first concern that springs to mind. Most people fear harassment instead, as this often involves actual physical threats or the use of crude and vulgar language.
However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) also covers misrepresentative behavior, as it often has an equally negative impact on the victim. But just what is it, and how can you identify it?
Debt collectors making empty threats
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau examines debt collector misrepresentation. This manifests in many ways, but often shares a key trait of the use of deceit in an attempt to fool or trick you into cooperation.
For example, if a debt collector makes a threat that they have no power to make good on or have no actual intention of carrying it out, this falls under the umbrella of misrepresentation. Common scenarios include threatening you with an arrest when they do not have an arrest warrant.
Exaggerating the numbers
Another common tactic involves inflating the amount of debt you supposedly owe. This makes it feel more urgent and pressing, and often causes people to rush into decisions they otherwise would not make simply so they can pay off this huge amount.
Finally, they can make threats by misrepresenting the amount of internal power they have. An example involves a member of the debt collection agency pretending they have a legal license or even pretending to be an attorney, and then making legal threats.
Misrepresentation is a huge issue and you can and should take action against debt collectors who use these tactics against you. Consider contacting legal aid to learn more about how you can do so.