mini Miranda Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Woman on phone call holding papers
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When debt collectors contact you whether it's by mail or phone, one of the first things they'll say is"This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose." This statement is commonly referred to as the "mini Miranda" because it’s similar to the Miranda rights that law enforcement must use to warn suspects of their right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to a court-appointed attorney if the suspect can’t afford one.

Debt collectors are only required to give the full mini Miranda in their initial communication with you. The disclaimer keeps debt collectors from tricking you into giving up information that can be used against you. If a third-party debt collector contacts you and doesn't give the disclosure, it has violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the law that governs what debt collectors can and can't do. You may have a grounds to sue the debt collector.

When you're under arrest, you must be careful what you say so as not to incriminate yourself. The same thing goes when you're talking to debt collectors - anything you say in the conversation can be used to help the collector pursue you for the debt. A specific example is when you're dealing with a debt that's past the statute of limitations for your state. Something as simple as an admission that the debt is yours could restart the clock on the statute and give the collector more time to sue you for the debt.