No, it may not. And if the debt collector does in fact ask you to make this kind of a payment, then it has violated federal law and your consumer rights. There is, however, a remedy for this behavior on the part of the collector.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal statute that regulates what a collection agency can and can’t do when it attempts to collect on a debt. These are strict limitations, and if the collector infringes upon your rights by violating the act, then it must compensate you for its wrong-doing. One of the things the collector cannot do is ask you to send it a post-dated check (or other financial instrument) to go towards a debt that you owe. They also cannot accept a post-dated check that is more than five (5) days out. Specifically, the FDCPA states in Section 808(2) & (3):
“A debt collector may not use unfair or unconscionable means to collector or attempt to collect any debt. … the following conduct is a violation of this section: (2) The acceptance by a debt collector from any person of a check or other payment instrument postdated by more than five days unless such person is notified in writing of the debt collector’s intent to deposit such check or instrument not more than ten nor less than three business days prior to such deposit; (3) The solicitation by a debt collector of any postdated check or other postdated payment instrument for the purpose of threatening or instituting criminal prosecution. ”
This last subsection (3) is a bit more in depth as you can see. Because sometimes the collection agency will threaten you with some sort of legal action unless you write a post-dated check. But then this is exactly why the act was written; to prevent this type of conduct from happening.
Although the act is very specific in its language, there are plenty of agencies that will violate it frequently. If such a violation occurs, it is the collector’s duty to not only cease the conduct, but also to compensate you for it. The maximum amount of damages to you would be $1,000. And the other nice thing about the FDCPA is that if in fact a violation is shown to have occurred, the collection agency has to pay your attorney fees. This means that there is no upfront cost to you to have the case filed.
In addition, it may be a good idea to look into whether or not you may need to file a Missouri or Illinois bankruptcy. A St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help get rid of your debts altogether, and get you back on the road towards financial freedom. The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been making sure our client’s rights are protected for over ten (10) years. The initial consultation is free of charge, so call today!