Many circumstances may lead to a person owing a debt. While debt collection is legal, debt collectors must adhere to the law in how they seek to obtain payment.
Illegal debt collection practices often include techniques that harass and threaten people, causing stress, anxiety and many other problems.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that governs debt collection practices. It protects consumers from abusive practices. Debt collectors are third parties, collection agencies, or lawyers hired by creditors to collect a debt on their behalf. Debt collectors must be truthful in their practices. Unfair collection practices are not allowed under the FDCPA. Additionally, debt collectors must formally prove the debt when they attempt to collect.
The Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act (MCDCA)
The federal FDCPA applies to Maryland, but Maryland has enacted additional laws to protect the consumers of the state. While the federal debt collection law focuses on debt collectors, the Maryland debt collection law more broadly covers all types of collectors, including the creditors themselves. Additionally, the MCDCA requires all debt collectors to obtain a license from the state and provides recourse for people who suffer due to violations of the MCDCA.
People who violate the MCDCA are liable for damages their actions cause, including mental anguish. If you feel that a collector in Maryland violated the law in pursuit of a debt you owed, you can file a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the actions of a debt collector violated the federal FDCPA.