When debt collectors come calling, you might feel somewhat helpless. If you’re a conscientious person, you might feel you’re at the mercy of the person on the other end of the line.
While, it’s admirable to want to live up to your obligations, it’s not OK for them to take advantage of your good nature. To this end, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to provide consumers with protections against overly aggressive efforts.
The following outlines some of your rights under the FDCP Act.
Debt Collectors Must
- Tell you immediately the call is an attempt to collect a debt. They must also identify themselves and disclose the fact that any information gleaned from the call will be used to collect the debt.
- Send written correspondence to your home address within five days of the call confirming their identity, disclosing the name of their client, and stating the amount of the debt in question. Said correspondence must also inform you that you have 30 days to demand they show proof of the debt and apprise you of your right to dispute it. It must also tell you what to do if you think it isn’t your debt.
- Discontinue all attempts to collect the debt until they show you proof when you ask to see such evidence.
- Provide you with written notice of their intent to deposit your post-dated check before depositing it.
Debt Collectors Must Not
- Phone you before 8a or after 9p, or at any other time you’ve informed them is inconvenient.
- Inform others about your outstanding debt. This includes family, friends, co-workers, employers and neighbors. (However, they can discuss the matter with your spouse.)
- Contact you at your place of business when they’ve been told you cannot accept such calls at work.
- Address you in an abusive, harassing or profane manner. Nor can they do anything that could be perceived as any of the foregoing. In other words, they must remain civil and respectful at all times during every interaction with you.
- Give you false information about the amount of the debt, or actions they can legally take in an effort to recover the debt.
- Threaten you with arrest, criminal prosecution, bodily harm or public embarrassment. Nor can they threaten to take your property—unless it was posted as collateral for the debt.
- Provide credit reporting agencies with false information regarding your account—or threaten to do so.
- Cause your phone to ring an inordinate number of times or call you repeatedly to harass you.
- Falsely represent themselves as attorneys or government representatives.
- Contact you after you’ve requested in writing they discontinue communications.
With That Said…
The FDCPA does not apply to creditors who are attempting to collect their own debt. For example, if you owe a creditor $25,000 on a credit card and one of your creditor’s representatives contacts you, they don’t have to adhere to the tenets of the FDCPA.
On the other hand, most states have laws to keep these people in check too. A quick Google search for the rules in your state should give you a reasonable understanding of your rights.
If you’re in a situation in which you’re getting calls from collectors and you’re not sure what to do next, working with a company like Freedom Debt Relief can help you reduce the amount of your obligations to make them easier to satisfy. While these companies can’t get the collection calls to stop, you will at least be on your way to getting debt collectors off your back.
When you’re looking for an organization with which to partner, consider information like these Freedom Debt Relief reviews to help you find a company you can trust.