Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 29, 2020

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Debt collectors, especially debt buyers – those who purchase unsubstantiated bad debt for pennies on the dollar – often do whatever they can in order to get consumers to pay. In many cases, they’ll misrepresent the debt and use threatening tactics – all of which violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

What are some examples of a debt collector misrepresenting a debt? To find out, we asked Steve Recordon, an attorney from San Diego, California whose firm represents individuals who have been sued or harassed by debt buyers. Here’s what he told us:

I think the biggest misrepresentations are what they say can happen to you if you don’t pay such as being arrested, having your name posted in the newspaper or having your wages attached for 60% – which can’t happen. There can be a wage assignment or attachment, but not at that percentage. Another is that they will seize all of your assets and auction them off. Those are the biggest misrepresentations.

I was in court recently, setting two of these cases for trial. The debt buyers use local contract attorneys, but many of them don’t realize how bad some of these complaints are and say that they’re going to call the debt buyer and tell them not to send them to trial because they don’t want to lose. So, maybe eventually all the contract attorneys will refuse to go into court and we’ll win by default.

Debt buyers who misrepresent and threaten debtors generally do it across the board. Recordon says that, as a result, class action lawsuits are commonly filed against debt collectors. He told us, “Normally what you find is that if they’re doing it to you, they’re doing it to somebody else; maybe even to thousands of people. So when you find a common thread, that where a complete class would have the same issues, then you can file a class action.”

If you’re being harassed by a debt collection company, contact an attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential. Click here to speak with an experienced debtor’s right collection lawyer who understands the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).