Don't let collection companies bully you! Did you know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from various collection practices? We use this Act daily in the credit repair industry, but did you know it can also protect you from abusive, unfair, and deceptive practices that collection companies may use? Here are some of the frequently asked questions about abusive debt collection practices.
Can a collection company call me at any time?
A debt collector may not contact you for a debt at times that are known to be inconvenient. It is assumed that the appropriate times to attempt communication consumer are from 8AM-9PM of the consumer’s local time.
Can a collection company call me at work?
A debt collector may not contact you for a debt at locations that are known to be inconvenient. This usually relates to communication at your workplace. Collectors may not contact you at work if you have told them you are not allowed to receive calls there. This notice may be given verbally or in writing.
Can a collection company speak to anyone else about alleged debts?
A debt collector may contact a third party once, only to collect information regarding your location such as your address, phone number, or your place of employment. The collector may not discuss your debt with anyone other than you or your spouse. If you have an attorney representing you the collector must contact the attorney instead of contacting you.
Are there practices collection companies cannot use?
YES. Again, do not let any debt collector bully you. The following is a list of practices that are off limits for debt collectors.
- Harassment cannot be used against you or any third party a debt collector may contact. Some examples of harassment can include:
- Use of inappropriate or profane language
- Use of threats of violence or any kind of harm
- False statements cannot be used to attempt to collect a debt. Some examples of false statements can include:
- Providing inaccurate amounts of the debt that is owed
- Stating that they represent or work for a major credit reporting company such as Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion
- Stating that you have committed a crime
- Stating that they are attorneys or represent a government agency
Along with these false statements, debt collectors are also prohibited from:
- Saying you will be arrested for not paying the alleged debt
- Threaten to seize, sell, or garnish your property or wages if they are not permitted by law to take these actions, or if they have no intention to actually take these actions
- Threaten to take legal action against you if they do not intend to take this action
- Attempt to collect additional charges or interest fees on top of the alleged debt owed, unless the original contract or your state law allows such a charge
Can a collection company sue me and what should I do?
A debt collector can file a lawsuit against you to collect an alleged debt. The most important thing to do if you are being sued is to respond. You may personally respond or seek legal assistance. Be sure to pay attention to the court papers of when a response is needed by to maintain your rights. No response to the court order results in an automatic default judgment. Also make sure that the documentation is coming from a court, and not a collection company posing as an attorney.
How can I stop a collection company from contacting me?
We advise you talk to any collector at least once about the debt they are attempting to collect. If you decide after speaking with them that you do not want them to contact you again, inform the debt collector in writing to stop contacting you. You can find more information about this and a Cease and Desist letter here.
You have rights!
You can report any problems you have with a debt collector/collection company. Report these problems to your state Attorney General’s Office, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), and the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Your state Attorney General’s office may be able to provide you more information regarding your rights, as your state may have its’ own debt collection laws different from the FDCPA.
For more information regarding debt collection practices visit the FTC website. For any questions regarding our credit repair services and how we can assist you and leverage your rights, contact us today.
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*The information in this article has been provided strictly for educational purposes.