Generally, state statutes that prohibit abusive or coercive debt collection practices also prohibit collection agencies from making coercive threats to debtors. In other words, no debt collector can collect or attempt to collect a debt or obtain information concerning a consumer by fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representation[i]. Such representations include, but not limited to[ii]:
- Communicating with the consumer other than in the name of the debt collector[iii];
- Communicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is false[iv];
- Failing to disclose, in all communications attempting to collect a debt, that the purpose of such communication is to collect a debt;
- Person or business on whose behalf the debt collector is acting or to whom the debt is owed.
However, a collection agency in general includes any person who attempts to collect or collects consumer claims owed or alleged to be owed to another person[v]. It is to be noted that, a civil action filed to collect a debt is not considered an improper means of debt collection even if the debt is disputed under state statutes.
[i] Guerrero v. RJM Acquisitions LLC, 499 F.3d 926 (9th Cir. Haw. 2007)
[ii] Wilkes Nat’l Bank v. Halvorsen, 126 N.C. App. 179 (N.C. Ct. App. 1997)
[iii] Ramos v. Bobell Co., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20813 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 20, 2003)
[iv] Gostony v. Diem Corp., 320 F. Supp. 2d 932 (D. Ariz. 2003)
[v] Cook v. Blazer Financial Services, Inc., 332 So. 2d 677 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1976)