The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act or FDCPA is a federal law designed to offer consumers some limited protections from overzealous and harassing creditors. The FDCPA prohibits certain aggressive collection tactics commonly used by bill collectors. Pursuant to the FDCPA, bill collectors are prohibited from certain contact such as being deceitful or threatening. Also, the FDCPA allows you to demand verification of a debt and requires bill collectors to provide certain notices of your right to dispute a debt.
One of the most interesting aspects of the FDCPA, you can send a cease and desist letter to bill collectors in some circumstances that bars them from continuing to harass you. For the FDCPA to apply, the debt must be a commercial (non-business) debt and the bill collector has to be a third party debt collector or an entity who acquired the debt from the original creditor. The FDCPA does not apply towards the original creditor.
The FDCPA may offer you some limited protection from bill collectors. Also, if a bill collector violates the FDCPA, you may be entitled to damages. The FDCPA often interacts with the bankruptcy law, and we often deal with minor FDCPA issues while representing our bankruptcy clients.