Having to repay a debt can be a troubling time between dealing with your finances and speaking to your creditors. However, just because you have a loan to repay doesn’t mean you have to be treated unfairly. You have rights when it comes to debt collection and harassment, and it is important you know exactly what to do if a situation like this ever comes to fruition.
Here is some information on debt collection and harassment to help you learn more.
Who Exactly is the Debt Collector?
Contrary to popular belief, the person you owe money too is usually not the one to collect your debts. Instead, the creditors have employed others to collect their debts for them, whether it is an attorney or a debt collection agency.
How Am I Protected By Debt Collectors?
There is a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), which sets guidelines for how debt collectors contact the debtors. Under the rules, debt collectors must refrain from:
Making Threats: A debt collector is not allowed to threaten the debtor in any way, including threatening to garnish their wages, add fees and interest to the loan, sell their home and other assets, or send them to jail.
Harassment: A debt collector cannot contact the debtor multiple times a day and/or use profanity or accusatory language.
Lying to the Debtor: A debt collector must be honest about who they are, and cannot lie about the amount of debt owed.
How Often Can the Debt Collectors Contact Me?
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are able to call, email, mail, or text you between the hours of 8 am to 9 pm. Unless you consent, they are not allowed to contact you at your place of work.
Additionally, debt collectors are prohibited from using robocalls to contact you. Robocalls are calls created by an autodialer and are automatically sent out. You can usually tell if a call is a robocall if there is an automated recording on the other side when you pick up. There are specific rules companies must abide by if they use auto dialers, and if they do not follow them, you may be eligible for a lawsuit and financial compensation.
Can Debt Collectors Contact my Friends or Family?
A debt collector is only allowed to contact a third party as a way to find your contact information. And with that, they are only allowed to contact that person once.
How Can I Stop the Debt Collector From Contacting Me?
Each situation differs, which is why you need to contact a bankruptcy lawyer, such as one from The Law Offices of Neil Crane, for next steps. Generally, the first thing you can do is send the debt collector a formal letter to cease all contact, then you can talk about the legalities of your situation and set up a plan of action. After the letter has been sent, you can request to have your lawyer be the only point of contact for your debt collector.
If you have any questions about debt collection and harassment, make sure to call our office to learn more. Our team is here to help you in any way we can.