The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection. The law is designed to protect consumers from the use of abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.
What Are Legal Debt Collection Practices?
If you have an attorney, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. In most cases, the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.
A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at your place of employment once they are made aware that your employer disapproves of these contacts.
Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money.
How to Stop Debt Collection Harassment
You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector telling them to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they usually do not contact you again. Although sending a letter to your debt collectors will stop their harassment, it does not prohibit the collection agency or original creditor from suing.
Debt Collection Practices That Are Prohibited
Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact.
- Use Threats Of Violence Or Harm.
- Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau).
- Use obscene or profane language; or repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.
- False Statements – Debt collectors may not use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt. For example, debt collectors may not:
- Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau.
- Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
- Use a false name.
- Unfair Practices
Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, collectors may not:
- Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such a charge.
- Deposit a post-dated check prematurely.
- Use deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams.
Let Us Help STOP Your Debt Collector Harassment
As most people already know, collection agencies can be very aggressive and will resort to just about anything to get money from you. This includes calling continuously, writing nasty letters, making threats, harassment, and a variety of other scare tactics. Living with the dark cloud of debt hanging over you can be overwhelming, but please know relief is available right now. You can un-burden yourself and live free again by contacting our office right away.
In the meantime, simply tell creditors you are in the process of retaining a bankruptcy attorney and ask them to call back for that information in one week. Once you’ve paid a nominal retainer of only $50, and signed the Retainer Agreement, you can begin referring all creditor phone calls to us. You won’t even have to speak with creditors again, once you’ve given them our number. We also provide clients with sample letters to send out to creditors. Once your case is filed in court, your creditors will receive an order from the bankruptcy court forbidding them from taking any collection action against you or calling you at home or at work.
Call for Your Free Consultation
If you have been harassed by debt collectors, and they have violated the “Credit Harassment Law,” you have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year (in most cases) from the date the law was violated. At McFarlin LLP we are passionate about defending your rights, and stopping debt collector harassment. Let us help you stop your debt collection harassment now.