Are debt collectors harassing you because of credit card debt? You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is federal legislation enacted by Congress in 1977, which establishes rules governing the conduct of debt collectors. As we all know, debt collectors have an infamous history of taking their efforts too far. Particularly in recent years, as the American economy has moved towards a heavy reliance on credit cards, debt collectors have taken a prominent role in the American economy. As the presence and power of debt collectors expands, the FDCPA stands as a vital bulwark against excesses that impose upon the civil liberties of consumers.

Debt collectors frequently act under the presumption that money is in fact all that matters in life. Once someone falls behind on a credit card or other type of debt, debt collectors are trained to consider them fair game. The hunt is on, and for many debt collectors that means the ends justify the means to ensure that the debt is collected.

Predatory debt collection does not concur with the principles of a free nation. As much as debt collectors wish it were so, being in debt is not a crime. Debt collectors must always remember their place when pursuing payments, and that no amount of debt justifies behavior that threatens, intimidates, berates or inflicts psychological harm on consumers or their families; causes undue financial hardship; or affects a consumer’s standing with an employer.

The FDCPA can make a powerful difference to the rights of consumers, but the law isn’t effective unless the millions of Americans harassed by debt collectors each year step forward, speak out and pursue their rights. Beyond what debt collectors can do to your public record and financial capacity, the impact they can have on your family, social life, mental health and quality of life shouldn’t be taken lightly.