As someone currently struggling with debt, you have likely heard horror stories about debt collectors. Tales of the harassing behaviors they engage in are well known. But did you know that misrepresentation is another big issue?
What is debt collector misrepresentation in the first place? And does it cause as much of a problem as harassing behaviors?
Use of deceit by debt collectors
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes a look at debt collector misrepresentation and what it means for you. Debt collector misrepresentation differs from harassment in several key ways. First of all, there is no involvement of vulgar or crude language. In addition, the debt collector will not use intimidation tactics such as calling your house repeatedly or parking in front of it during the day.
Misrepresentation instead refers to an intentional deceit of the victim through false presentation or lies. For example, a debt collector may pretend they have legal expertise or double as an attorney to scare you into compliance. They may also threaten to call the authorities to have you arrested, despite lacking any sort of warrant.
Misrepresentation also includes any threat they make that they have no means or intention of following through on. These threats differ from the threats found in harassment, which often involve the notion of violently removing you or your loved ones from your home. Misrepresentative threats often involve the debt collector threatening you with jail time or sentences that they cannot actually rule on, due to their lack of legal power.
Still, misrepresentation can cause victims just as much mental strain and anguish as harassment. You are also protected from misrepresentation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and can act accordingly if you suffer from this treatment.