If you fall behind on your payments, your creditor may sell your debt to a collections agency or debt purchaser. While creditors and their debt collection agencies are allowed to take reasonable actions to collect money from you, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) grants you certain rights to protect you from harassment. The FDCPA guarantees you these rights:
Photo courtesy of Vinicius
No Late Night or Early Morning Calls
While a debt collection agency is allowed to call you during the day, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stipulates that a debt collector may not call you before 9:00 AM or after 8:00 PM. Debt collection agencies are also not allowed to call you continuously (such as several times a day) about an unpaid bill.
No Calling at Work
Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at work if they’ve been told that you are not allowed to receive calls while at work.
No Sharing Information with People You Know
A debt collection agency is not allowed to share information about your debt with your employer, your family, or anyone other than you and/or your attorney.
No Verbal Abuse or Dire Threats
It’s a shame this even has to b a rule, but if you find yourself hounded by debt collection agencies, you should know that they are not allowed to threaten you with arrest or use abusive or profane language.
No Attempts to Collect More Than You Owe
It is strictly illegal for a debt collection agency to attempt to collect more than you actually owe. You can best avoid this issue by keeping strict tabs on your debt and paperwork, since collectors may not have all the proper documentation.
Debt Collectors Must Provide Written Notice of Debt
A debt collector must provide a written notice of the amount you owe within five days of contacting you. They must also explain your options if you feel that the amount owed is incorrect.
Collection Calls Must Stop After Written Request for No Further Contact
If you send a written letter requesting no further contact within 30 days of receiving a written notice of debt, your collectors must honor it. Be aware that they may still sue you to collect the money owed.
What Can You Do?
If debt collectors are contacting you non-stop, you can take the following actions:
- You can get a debt collector to stop contacting you by sending a letter by certified mail (and pay a little extra for a return receipt). Once they receive the letter they can only contact you to notify that you’ll no loger be contacted OR if they intend on taking some additional, specific action (such as a lawsuit).
- Get them to stop contacting you at work by telling them that such calls are prohibited by your employer.
- You may be able to resolve inaccurate disputes by forcing the debt collection agency to prove your debt. If you file a dispute in writing, the debt collection agency will have to verify your debt before contacting you again.
Keep in mind that if a debt is legitimate, it will not go away – even if collectors stop calling. The only way to permanently get rid of debt is by declaring chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.
To Learn more about the bankruptcy process or requirements, contact DeLuca & Associates at (702) 252-4673 to schedule a free consultation.