Debt Collector Harassment – Know Your Rights
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on April 18, 2018
Collections and Credit: What You Should Know
When you owe money to a business or person, they may report your debt to a debt collection agency that will act as a third party between the debtor and the creditor. Depending on your situation, that third party agency may report your collection to nationwide credit reporting companies. As a result, you could find yourself on the receiving end of debt collector harassment. Additionally, when a business or person reports a collection, there is a good chance it negatively affects your credit report.
Your credit report is a collection of information regarding where you live and your debt payment history. It also includes whether or not you’ve filed for bankruptcy or have been sued. A business can buy your credit report from nationwide credit reporting companies. This is done in order to evaluate your eligibility for a line of credit, rental property, or other endeavors. If you have bad credit, it can make it hard to get a loan, car, or apartment among other things.
Debt Collector Harassment and Your Rights
There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with debt collection. However, it’s important to remember that you have rights when it comes to debt collector harassment. This is true whether you owe money after a rough financial time or are the victim of a mix-up. In the United States, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a Federal Trade Commission law that regulates what third-party debt collectors can and cannot do. It covers debts over various industries including auto loans, rent disputes, medical bills and credit card bills.
While the law gives instructions to debt collectors, in the end the only person who can stand up for your rights is you. If a collector violates the rules, you must report them to your state attorney general’s office. You should also report the offence to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or the FTC.
The state you live in may even have its own debt collection laws, so they could be violating state law as well– a local attorney can help you decipher which laws exactly the debt collector may be in violation of. Contacting a lawyer is also a good idea if the debt amount is substantial or if you have any lingering questions about your particular case.
9 Rules for Debt Collectors
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects citizens from irrational and invasive tactics some debt collectors use in their pursuit of a collection. These tactics often border on harassment and can cause extreme anxiety for the person being harassed. If you believe a debt collection agency is harassing you, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney to get further clarification regarding your rights.
The following are some (but not all) of the rules and guidelines set for debt collection agencies by the FTC.
1. A Written Notice Must Be Sent
If you are receiving calls from a debt collector, you should also receive a written notice including detailed information regarding your debt. Written notice may be sent via USPS or email.
2. Debt Collectors Can Only Contact You During Certain Hours
A debt collector can contact you via phone, letter, email or even through text message, but they cannot contact you before 8 am or after 9 pm.
3. Your Collection Should Be Private
A debt collector does not have the right to contact your family, employer, neighbor, or anyone else to inform them about your debt. A debt collector should only communicate information regarding your collection with you, your spouse or your appointed attorney.
4. Debt Collectors Cannot Call While Debt is in Dispute
If you provide a written dispute of your debt, the debt collection agency must cease calls while they verify it. Once they send you a written verification of the debt, the calls may resume.
5. You May Request No Further Contact
You have the right to request that the debt collector cease all communication. Sending a written request can stop the calls, texts, letters, and emails, but it does not get rid of your debt.
6. Debt Collectors Can Only Request for What Is Owed
The amount you owe is the amount you owe– if a debt collector demands more money from you, they are in violation of the law.
7. You Can Request No Calls at Work
If a debt collector gets a hold of your work number, you can tell them–in written form or verbally- to stop calling you and they legally must oblige.
8. No Verbal Abuse or Serious Threats
If a debt collector becomes verbally aggressive, uses profanity, or threatens you with violence, property seizure, or jail time, it is considered harassment by the FTC.
9. Frequent Calls and Harassment
If a debt collector calls you multiple times a day, continues to call you at work, or simply contacts your excessively to the point of harassment, they are in violation of FTC law.
The debt collector harassment attorneys at Cooper & Friedman Law Office have years of experience working with people who are unfairly targeted by debt collection agencies. If you or someone you love needs a debt collector harassment attorney in Kentucky or Southern Indiana, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach the Cooper & Friedman Law Office by calling 502-459-7555 or contacting us on our website by clicking here.