The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law requiring debt collectors to not abuse consumer debtors when trying to collect a debt. The South Carolina Consumer Protection code goes further: both Debt Collectors and Creditors must treat debtors fairly. This is important, because Fair Debt Collection Practices Act law does not protect consumers from abusive treatment when a creditor is collecting its own bill.
The South Carolina Consumer Protection Code (SCCPC) incorporates the FDCPA so both statues apply in South Carolina. But the SCCPC applies to creditors too, and not just debt collectors. This means, that in South Carolina, if you get treated badly about a debt, you probably have the right to take legal action against your harasser.
Under the SCCPC, for example, when collecting a debt, creditors cannot:
- Use (or threaten you or your family with) force, violence or criminal prosecution;
- Threaten to harm your reputation or property;
- Bug you repetitively in 24 hours or at unusual hours;
- Talk with you at any unusual time or place;
- Talk to a you if you have a lawyer;
- Bug you at work after your boss writes telling them not to;
- Talk to anyone other than you or your lawyer, or a consumer reporting agency unless you or a court has given them permission;
- Use bad, abusive or offensive language;
- Publish your name in a list;
- Make your phone ring over and over;
- Send you a postcard about your debt;
- Depositing or threatening to deposit a postdated check;
- Threaten to take your property when they have no right to;
- Use fraudulent, deceptive or even misleading information while trying to collect a debt.
In other words, creditors must be nice (or at least professional) if they are trying to collect a debt from you. Otherwise, they may owe you a debt – because creditors and debt collectors who violate the code must pay mandatory penalties and also pay your lawyer too.
Ask for legal help when creditors go too far.
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