DEFINITION of 'Mini-Miranda Rights'

Mini-Miranda rights are a statement a debt collector must use when contacting an individual to collect a debt. Mini-Miranda rights have to be recited if the debt collection effort is being made over the phone or in person. If the collection agency sends a letter to the debtor, the Mini-Miranda rights should be in written form. If the debt collector phones the debtor, the Mini-Miranda rights require the collector to inform the debtor that the call is from a debt collector, that he or she is calling to collect a debt, and that any information obtained during the phone call will be used to collect the debt.

BREAKING DOWN 'Mini-Miranda Rights'

Mini-Miranda is not an official term, but rather a colloquialism. It prevents a debt collector from using false pretenses in furtherance of collecting a debt. For instance, a heavily indebted person may use a fictitious name when answering the phone to avoid calls from collection agencies. While an easy solution for a debt collector would be to not reveal his or her true identity and the purpose of the call so as to get through to the indebted person, the Mini-Miranda specifically prohibits such tactics by debt collectors.

Mini-Miranda gets its name from the Miranda rights or Miranda Warning, used by law-enforcement officers when they collar a suspect in a crime. The actual Miranda Warning states that the suspect has the right to remain silent, that anything said by the suspect can and will be used against him or her in a court of law, and that the suspect has the right to an attorney.

Mini-Miranda Rights and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

Just as the Miranda Warning came about to protect suspects from intimidation efforts by law-enforcement officers, the Mini-Miranda was introduced to safeguard consumers from abusive debt collection practices and was specified in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) of 1977. The Act prohibits debt collectors from using harassment, threats, deceit, or intimidation to collect debts.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) also specifies the time of day and frequency with which contact can be made between a debt collector and debtor. For example, debt collectors should not contact debtors at inconvenient times (i.e. significantly outside of business hours) unless prior arrangement has been made. In addition debt collectors may call a debtor’s place of business or home; however, if the debtor requests that the collector cease calling either number, and puts the request in writing, the collector must abide by the statement. A collector may call relatives, neighbors, and/or associates of the debtor in the event the previous two numbers are not available.

If the FDCPA is violated, a suit may be brought against the debt collection company, along with the individual debt collector, within one year of the violation.

  1. Fair Debt Collection Practices ...

    A Federal law that limits the behavior and actions of debt collectors ...
  2. Collection Agency

    A collection agency or debt collector is a company hired by lenders ...
  3. Zombie Debt

    A type of bad debt that is so old a person may have forgotten ...
  4. Time-Barred Debt

    Time-barred debt is money a consumer borrowed and didn’t repay ...
  5. Debtor

    A debtor is a company or individual who owes money also often ...
  6. Debt Buyer

    If a debt becomes delinquent, and the lender sees few options ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What Debt Collectors Can And Cannot Do

    The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act now regulates the actions and behaviors of debt collectors in order to protect you.
  2. Personal Finance

    Outfox the Debt Collector's Hounds

    Dealing with a collection agency is scary if you don't know your rights. We help you take back the power.
  3. Personal Finance

    5 Things Debt Collectors Are Forbidden to Do

    You may owe money, but you still have rights. Know what debt collectors are forbidden from doing.
  4. Personal Finance

    How To Beat Off A Zombie Debt Collector

    Sounds like a bad horror movie, but it really could happen to you. Here's how to identify zombie debt and send collectors back to the dead-debt graveyard.
  5. Small Business

    The Dark Side Of Debt Collection

    Debt collectors are becoming more aggressive, and have found "legal" ways to function outside the law. Know your rights and how to counter these new methods.
  6. Taxes

    Getting A Job As The Tax Man

    If you'd like the IRS to pay you some money for a change, consider a career working in taxes.
  7. Investing

    Does 2016 Spell the End of a Global Debt Cycle?

    Examine the growth of global debt from 2010 to 2015. Emerging market debt has grown significantly, while advanced economy debt has grown marginally.
  8. Investing

    Will Corporate Debt Drag Your Stock Down?

    Corporate debt can mean a leg up for firms, or the boot for investors. How to tell the difference.
  9. Financial Advisor

    The Risks of Investing in Art and Collectibles

    Investing in art and collectibles has the potential to lead to a big payday, but it's often a difficult road.
  1. If a collection agency buys my debt from another agency, does the debt become 'new'?

    Find out what happens when your debt account is sold from one collection agency to another and the impact on your balance ... Read Answer >>
  2. How can a creditor improve its Average Collection Period?

    Read about some of the ways that a business can improve its accounts receivable management practices to shorten its average ... Read Answer >>
  3. Why would you look at a company's net debt rather than its gross debt?

    Learn the difference between net debt and gross debt, how to calculate debt using a company's financial statements and why ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center