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What is debt collector misrepresentation?

Debt collector harassment is an umbrella term used to describe the actions that a debt collector can take that violate the protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This often includes extreme behaviors like physical threats or frequent phone calls.

However, it can also include misrepresentation, which often gets less press coverage but causes just as much stress to the victims.

Pretending to have false authority

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses possible actions and behaviors that could fall under the umbrella of debt collector misrepresentation. Misrepresentation essentially includes any action a debt collector takes to misconstrue or hide information or present things in a false way.

For example, debt collectors may often act as if they have authority or power that they do not possess to make it seem like they have more of a say in a victim’s financial situation. They may claim they have a warrant out for the victim’s arrest when they do not, or they could pretend that a staff member is a lawyer when that is not true to threaten the victim with legal action.

Misconstruing information

They may also misconstrue information to make a situation seem direr than it is. The most common way of doing this is by lying about the amount of money that the victim owes, inflating it to make it seem more pressing to pay it off.

They may also send the victim “legal” documents that are not legal in an attempt to make immediate payment seem like a necessity. However, they cannot use any form of trickery to obtain payment under the FDCPA.