National Financial Awareness Network, Inc.
National Financial Awareness Network, Inc.

Fair Debt Collection Laws Protect Financially Struggling Consumers

Unemployment spells financial distress for consumers and more unpaid credit card accounts. As creditors turn accounts over to debt collections, consumers need to become aware of fair debt collection laws to guard against abuses.

Columbia, MD, February 11, 2009 --( In response to the continuing economic downturn, personal finance professionals at the National Financial Awareness Network, a Maryland-based publishing company, are urging consumers to familiarize themselves with federal and state laws that govern debt collection.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate climbed from 6.8 percent in November to 7.2 percent in December. This is a monthly increase of 632,000 unemployed persons, bringing the current total to 11.1 million nationwide. Out of this 11.1 million, 2.6 million have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

With unemployment on the rise and money tightening, consumers are forced to prioritize spending. Mortgage or rent, food and transportation gets top billing in family budgets while medical and credit card debt repayment often gets put on hold. With these bills going unpaid, creditors will eventually turn accounts over to debt collectors. As a result, consumers should be aware of fair debt collection laws so they do not fall victim to unlawful debt collection tactics.

"Many debt collectors are just trying to do their job, but many others cross the line -- especially during tough economic times like this," explains John Janney, President of the NFAN. "Federal law spells out clearly what a debt collector cannot do, such as threaten arrest or bodily harm, use obscene language or call late at night."

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law Congress passed in 1977 to protect consumers against deceptive, abusive and unfair debt collection practices. The Federal Trade Commission is charged with its enforcement and publishes an annual report regarding FDCPA-related complaints it receives. In 2007, the FTC filed 70,951 complaints from consumers against third-party debt collectors, which represents 20.8 percent of all complaints the FTC received that year making debt collection the most complained-about industry in America.

The number of consumers falling 30-days or more behind on debt repayment is increasing and this will result in increased debt collection activities. As some consumers may be experiencing debt collection for the first time, they are likely unaware of the laws that govern debt collection activities. This is prompting many personal finance professionals to make public calls for more awareness about fair debt collection laws.

"Debt collectors can't call your place of work if they know your employer disapproves of you receiving such calls; debt collectors can't threaten to throw you in jail for not paying your debt on time and they can't curse at you or demean you as they attempt to collect a debt from you," explains Maggie Beetz, Senior Financial Literacy Writer at NFAN. "But some debt collectors don't play by these rules and people need to know the rules so they can report infringing debt collectors."

To find out more about federal and state laws governing debt collection, visit

About NFAN

The National Financial Awareness Network is a Maryland-based personal finance publishing company that offers educational products and services, such as the popular Do-It-Yourself Debt Settlement Kit, Debt Relief University, Help For Debtors online support forum and their How to Get Great Credit e-book. For more information, please visit the NFAN website at

National Financial Awareness Network, Inc.
John Janney