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Creditor Calls Debtor Excrement

posted by John Pottow

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(2), creditors are prohibited from using "obscene or profane" language in collecting debts.

Would this count?

Or is truth an absolute defense?

(Thanks to students in my bankruptcy class for bringing this article to my attention.)


Well, not to defend collectors, but this one seems to have a defense, on its face. Apparently, someone signed up for their service using an unfortunate name. This is the chicken coming home to roost.

Granted, the debt collection agency should have smelled a rat... Who would have that name? And what company would send someone like that anything, let alone effectively extend a line of credit?

This one, I believe is a wash.

As a legal assistant in a consumer BK firm I hear a ton of stories and I did read the story as I am on the find law news letter. It seems that collectors are reading from a script when collecting. The charge towards the line and then stop short of crossing it at the last second! The problem is that most consumers who are in trouble with credit cards etc... are unsophisticated to say the least. A statement like "hello this is agent so and so and Im calling concerning your payday loan and Im investigating". To the untrained or unsophisticated it might seem that the person on the other end of the line is a member of some law enforcement agency. They don't know that he or she could be just a "collection agent" or the like. Debtors get fearful which is the point and are coerced into making a payment they may need to pay say...Mortgage, Insurance etc.....Just because they assumed it was a law enforcement agent. Just the use of the word agent would be enough to strike fear in someone who does not know. In the eyes of the law in collection cases it seems anyway there is no discernable difference between sophisticated and unsophisticated debtors. Because of the debtors lack of understanding, education etc.. they are the ones that get the brunt and are the ones who can least afford it.

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