You have likely heard of debt collector harassment before, but did you know that misrepresentation is also a major issue? Misrepresentation often serves a similar purpose to harassment but goes about it in an entirely different way. Instead of intimidating you into paying your debts, they will instead try to trick you into doing so.
However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from engaging in misrepresentative behaviors, too. This means that you have protections that you can act under.
The difference between harassment and misrepresentation
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau discusses debt collector misrepresentation. This differs from harassment in a few key ways: primarily, it lacks the same aggressive approach that harassment often takes.
When a debt collector engages in harassing behaviors, they are often trying to intimidate or scare you through physical threats into complying with their demands. When debt collectors turn to misrepresentative behaviors, they are trying to get you to comply through deceit instead.
Examples of misrepresentation
Some examples of misrepresentation include pretending to have authority where none exists. For example, they may pretend they already have a warrant for your arrest when they do not have one, or cannot even request one due to lack of reasonable grounds. A member of the agency may pretend they are a lawyer in an attempt to give more credibility to their threats of eviction or time in jail.
Debt collectors may even misrepresent the amount of money you owe. They will often do this in an attempt to make your debt seem larger and like more of a pressing matter than it already does. If you experience any of these issues, consider contacting an attorney to learn about your options.