The Ultimate Fair Debt Collection Act Quiz

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

The Ultimate Fair Debt Collection Act Quiz
Image: iStockphoto.com/DNY59

About This Quiz

Not being able to pay a debt you have incurred can be a very unpleasant situation, and debt collection agencies might make it even worse. But what are the limits of the ways they can attempt to collect their debts? Take this quiz to see how much you know about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
As of 2007, what was the approximate average amount of consumer debt per U.S. citizen?
2100
8200
The total national consumer debt equaled a staggering $2.5 trillion. That is over 1/4 the amount of the U.S. national debt for the same year!
13500

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Changes in what type of laws were responsible, in part, for the increase in U.S. consumer debt?
bankruptcy-protection
The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made it more difficult for individuals to declare bankruptcy. Thus, more consumer debt remained unpaid.
debt collection
consumer protection

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Complaints against debt collection agencies was approximately how much greater in 2007 than in 1999?
twice as many
four times as many
six times as many
With rapidly rising consumer debt, more and more debt collection agencies went into business. Complaints against such companies also increased at the same time.

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Which U.S. government agency oversees the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a U.S. government independent agency that was designed to protect consumers and prevent harmful business practices.
Interstate Commerce Commission
United States Commercial Service

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In what year did the FDCPA become law?
1977
The FDCPA was designed to protect consumers from abuse at the hands of debt collection agencies. It covers most types of personal debt.
1990
2006

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What rules apply to the collection practices of individual creditors?
state laws
The FDCPA only applies to debt collectors, not to the initial creditors. Such companies, such as credit card companies or auto dealers, are only bound by state laws.
the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act
none

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Debt collectors are prohibited by the FDCPA from contacting debtors by what means?
postcard
Though not prohibited by the FDCPA, e-mail and cell phone contact for debt collection purposes are prohibited by other federal laws.
fax
telegram

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What is the latest that a debt collector is allowed to call you, according to the FDCPA?
8:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from contacting you at inconvenient times. They can't call you before 8:00 a.m. either.
10:00 p.m.

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Is a debt collector permitted to call you at work?
yes
no
only if your employer permits such calls
If debt collectors know your employer prohibits such calls, they can call you only at home.

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What are debt collectors allowed to discuss with your friends, family members or employers?
your contact information
The only third party with whom a debt collector is allowed to discuss your debt is an attorney that you have hired to deal with this issue.
your debt
your finances

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What is it illegal for a debt collector to charge you for?
phone calls and postage
Debt collectors are entitled to attempt to collect the entire amount you owe, plus interest that you agreed in your initial agreement to pay. They cannot, however, charge their own interest.
credit card interest
anything above 90% of what you owe

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How can you legally prevent a debt collection agency from contacting you?
sending them a letter requesting that they stop
By law, if you request that a debt collector stop contacting you, they may only send you one more letter to say that they will stop or that they are taking legal action. This does not, however, eliminate your debt.
having a lawyer call them
paying off 51% of your debt

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How long does a debt collector have to respond to a requested debt validation?
one week
10 business days
30 days
If you dispute a debt, you have 30 days to request a debt validation. Once you do, debt collectors have the same span of time to respond.

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If you sue a collection agency and win, how much might you be entitled to?
their dropping their claims against you
court costs
In some circumstances, you might also be able to recoup your court costs and attorney's fees.
10000

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What should you do to prevent future debt collection if you are the victim of identity theft?
Report the fraud to the credit agencies.
A fraud report filed with the credit agencies can help you if anyone in the future tries to collect a debt for which you are not responsible.
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
Cancel all your credit cards.

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You Got:
/15
iStockphoto.com/DNY59

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