You can’t believe you’re in this situation yet here you are, behind in your debts with collectors on your tail. If your obligations are legitimate, you’re going to have to face the music. Won’t you don’t have to do is abide unscrupulous behavior from collectors whose sole goal is to get those debts paid. You are protected by laws that regulate debt collectors. Here’s what you need to know.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
In addition to various state laws, the FDCPA is a federal law that limits conduct in the collection of non-business debts such as mortgages, credit cards, and medical debts.
Debt collectors can be debt buyers, collection agencies, and attorneys who, as part of their business, regularly collect debts. They also can include individuals or entities that purchase delinquent debts then attempt to collect them. These are typically debt collection agencies or debt buyers.
How Does the Law Protect Me?
For one thing, FDCPA prohibits collectors from contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Collectors also may not contact you at work if you’ve told them not to.
Debt collectors also aren’t allowed to harass you, be it over the phone or via any other mode of contact. They may not use abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices to get you to pay up.
Further, if a debt collector knows you have a lawyer who is representing you about the debt, he or she must cease contacting you. Instead, they must contact your lawyer. Your task is to make sure the collector knows the attorney’s name and how to contact them.
Under the law, you can also instruct a collector to cease contacting you altogether. You must do so in writing. After that, the only contact allowed is to inform you that there will be no further contact, or that there may be legal action taken against you.
What Information Must a Debt Collector Provide?
By law, a collector who contacts you about a debt must tell you: the creditor’s name, the amount owed, that you can dispute the debt, and that you can have the identity of the original creditor as well as contact information, if that differs from the current creditor. If this information isn’t provided during the initial contact, it must be included in a written notice within five days.
What if I Want to Dispute the Debt?
Under FDCPA, it’s your right to dispute part of or all the debt. If you do so in writing within 30 days of when you get the required info from the collector, the collector may not phone or contact you in any way until you’re provided with written verification of the debt.
If you ask for the name of the original creditor within the required 30 days and you don’t recognize it, check your records. The debt may have been bought from another company.
If the debt is legitimate, and you can’t see yourself being able to pay it, you may need help from Freedom Debt Relief.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act and Other Legislation
This is another important federal law in the debt collections space. Among other things, the Fair Credit Reporting Act covers how debt collections can be cited on your credit report.
In addition, there are federal consumer financial protection laws that bar debt collectors and even creditors from using deceptive, unfair, or abusive conduct.
Moreover, many states have legislation concerning debt collection that is comparable to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Most states also have in place Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices measures that may cover debt collection. It’s a good idea to reach out to your state’s attorney general’s office to find out more about your state’s laws.
Regarding your state’s attorney general, you may also contact that office if you have problems with a debt collector. You may have the option to sue the debt collector in federal or state court.
So, yes, it’s bad enough that you have a debt with which you must contend. The last thing you need is a troublesome collector. It pays to know the laws that regulate these debt collectors.