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Your Rights Under the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act

Debt Collectors who engage in aggressive or unscrupulous collection practices against Maryland consumers may be held accountable under Maryland's Consumer Debt Collection Act (MCDCA). Under this law, debt collectors may not:
  • Use or threaten force or violence;
  • Threaten criminal prosecution, unless the transaction involved the violation of a criminal statute;
  • Disclose or threaten to disclose information which affects the debtor's reputation for credit worthiness with knowledge that the information is false;
  • Except as permitted by statute, contact a person's employer with respect to a delinquent indebtedness before obtaining final judgment against the debtor;
  • Except as permitted by statute, disclose or threaten to disclose to a person other than the debtor or his spouse or, if the debtor is a minor, his parent, information which affects the debtor's reputation, whether or not for credit worthiness, with knowledge that the other person does not have a legitimate business need for the information;
  • Communicate with the debtor or a person related to him with the frequency, at the unusual hours, or in any other manner as reasonably can be expected to abuse or harass the debtor;
  • Use obscene or grossly abusive language in communicating with the debtor or a person related to him;
  • Claim, attempt, or threaten to enforce a right with knowledge that the right does not exist; or
  • Use a communication which simulates legal or judicial process or gives the appearance of being authorized, issued, or approved by a government, governmental agency, or lawyer when it is not.
If a debt collector has engaged in prohibited conduct against you, the law provides that you are entitled to compensation for all damages that you have suffered, including emotional injury damages. If a debt collector has filed a case against you in court, you should consider filing a counterclaim against the debt collector for violating your rights as a consumer.

In November 2016, in the case Nyhart v. PNC Bank, a federal judge in Maryland sustained a homeowner's claim against a foreclosing bank for violating the MCDCA by pursuing a foreclosure case against the homeowner even though the homeowner had tendered payments to the bank that the bank had improperly rejected.