Debt Collection Calls are never a pleasant experience but chances are, there is a reason you are being contacted. The first thing you want to do is take control of the call. Do this by asking questions. What is the company name? Where are they located? Tell me more about my debt history? Take notes and make it obvious that you are taking notes. Ask them their name. What company do they work for? All of these questions will most likely throw the collection caller off their script and put you in control so that you can find the time to sort yourself out. This is also the time when debt collectors will get flustered and move to violate your rights so it’s important that you know what those rights are. Review the full Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and if that’s too much, check our Stop Debt Harassment summary which should offer a snapshot of key points to take away from a collection call. Debt Collectors should not be:
# Misrepresenting the debt or
# Claiming that he or she is an attorney or law enforcement officer
# Publishing the consumer’s name or address on a “bad debt” list
# Seeking unjustified amounts not permitted under an applicable contract and law
If the debt collector has violated your rights, the opportunity exists to do something about it.
Debt collection agencies often employ harassing tactics that take advantage of consumer’s ignorance of the laws that are in place through the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. In Pennsylvania, there is help for seniors who are being harassed by debt collectors through the Widener University Law School’s Civil Clinic. You can read more about it here: Program helps seniors dogged by debt collectors.
Introduced as a US Statute in 1978 as Title VIII of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (or FDCPA) aims to protect the rights of consumers against abuse and deceptive practices of debt collectors. CreditLaw.com was created to ensure anyone who is being harassed by Debt Collectors is protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt Collectors must treat consumers according to guidelines, which includes:
- communicating within approved hours of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time
- communicating with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised as such
- misrepresentation or deceit that the debt collector is anything other than a debt collector
- publishing the consumers name or address
- abusive or profane language
- inappropriate communication with third parties other than spouse or attorney
- threatening or reporting false credit report information
There are certainly more inappropriate behaviors that could land a debt collector in hot water and we will continue to provide you with more information here at creditlaw.com. If you do want to learn more, check out our FDCPA website or head over to the Federal Trade Commission website to learn more.