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FDCPA ::..

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. ยง 1692 et seq., is a United States statute added in 1978 as Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. Its purposes are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information's accuracy. The Act creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of the Act. It is sometimes used in conjunction with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FDCPA broadly defines a debt collector as "any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another." While the FDCPA generally only applies to third party debt collectors--not internal collectors for an "original creditor" -- some states, such as California, have similar state consumer protection laws which mirror the FDCPA, and regulate original creditors. In addition, courts have generally found debt buyers to be covered by the FDCPA even though they are collecting their own debts. The definitions and coverage have changed over time. The FDCPA itself contains numerous exceptions to the definition of a "debt collector," particularly after the October 13, 2006, passage of the Financial Services Regulatory Relief Act of 2006. Attorneys, originally explicitly excepted from the definition of a debt collector, have been included (to the extent that they otherwise meet the definition) since 1986.

The FDCPA's definitions of "consumers" and "debt" specifically restricts the coverage of the act to personal, family or household transactions. Thus, debts owed by businesses (or by individuals for business purposes) are not subject to the FDCPA.