Recording Phone Conversations with Debt Collectors
If you believe a debt collector has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (FDCPA) in his dealings with you, you might want to gather evidence of these illegal and abusive tactics by recording telephone conversations with the debt collector in order to gather evidence for a lawsuit or to turn the matter over to your State Attorney General's office or the Federal Trade Commission..
Before you secretly record a conversation with a debt collector, you need to be aware that it is actually against the law in some places to do that without getting the debt collector's permission first. Some states have passed laws making it illegal to secretly record a phone conversation without both parties' permission, while other states allow a conversation to be recorded if only one person is aware of it. Twelve states have made it illegal to record a telephone conversation without all parties' consent: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington. It is legal to record a conversation in the other 38 states as long as one party to the conversation (you) gives consent.
If you live in one of the 12 states above where you need both parties' consent, you must ask the debt collector beforehand if you have his or her permission to record the conversation, and get this on tape. (If he is dumb enough to violate the FDCPA, perhaps he is dumb enough to give his permission and then continue to threaten you and violate federal law.
How do you record the conversations? Most modern mobile devices have recording capabilities, but if you want to use a landline that doesn't have a recording capability, you can purchase one at an electronics store such as Radio Shack.
You can use any recordings that prove the debt collector is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; however, be aware that most unscrupulous debt collectors have absolutely no respect for the federal law and will go on violating it even if the FTC or state attorney general's offices threaten to sue them or take some sort of action. In fact, some debt collection agencies factor in paying fines for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as just another cost of doing business. And many times, if they are shut down by the FTC or state authorities, they will just create a brand new debt collection agency using a new name and continue violating the law.