You don’t have to tolerate unscrupulous debt collectors, an attorney can help put a stop to harassment.
People dealing with debt issues may have a number of stressful issues they are trying to resolve. They shouldn’t have to deal with unscrupulous debt collectors too. Unfortunately, there are a number of agencies that will ignore the law while trying to collect. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission received 140,036 complaints regarding debt collectors in 2010, which accounted for 27 percent of all complaints the agency received across all industries.
Nevertheless, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers and establishes a uniform code of conduct that debt collectors must follow. This article will highlight a few unauthorized practices that consumers should be aware of. If you are dealing with a debt collector who may be breaking the law, a fair debt collection attorney may be able to provide further assistance.
Annoying or threatening calls – Collectors may say a lot to get people to pay up, but they may not use profanity, threats of violence or abusive language to obtain payment. Additionally, debt collectors may not engage in harassment like calling repeatedly.
Constant calls or calls at odd hours – Creditors may only call between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Phone calls outside of those hours violate the FDCPA. Also, consumers besieged by phone calls can stop them by sending a letter asking creditors to cease all telephone communication. Federal law requires debt collectors to comply with written requests. Creditors may notify the consumer (in writing, of course) that there will be no further contact, or that they plan to file a lawsuit to collect the debt. Regardless, the phone calls should stop after written notification is sent.
Not verifying debt – Consumers should know how much they owe, and the law allows them to question whether a debt is valid. Upon request, a creditor is required to provide written verification of the debt; which may shed light on how the debt was accumulated, and whether the amount claimed is actually correct. A creditor that refuses to provide verification of the debt is breaking the law.
Talking with others about debt – Federal law also prohibits debt collectors from contacting family members, neighbors or colleagues to talk about a consumer’s debts. The only people authorized to talk about a debt besides the consumer are a consumer’s spouse or their attorney. A creditor who probes a person’s friends and family is violating the FDCPA.
While the preceding is not intended to be legal advice, you can stand up to threatening creditors. Contact an attorney if you believe a debt collector is violating the law, or if you would like to discuss solutions to resolving your debt problems.
by Ledford & Wu