Debt Collectors: 3 Ways to Stop HARASSMENT Today
1. Stop the Collection Calls: Instruct the debt collector to stop calling you at home or at work. Write them a letter if you can with those instructions and save a copy. If the calls continue, they have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by harassment. Stopping the calls requires the collector to resort to letters that state the nature of the debt and what is sought. You can take the time to research all the facts to determine if you in fact owe the money or not, and whether you need to consult with others before responding. You are not put on the spot by unexpected calls from rude debt collectors who may make you upset, aggravated or otherwise uncomfortable in your own home or at work.
2. Know the Statute of Limitations: Each state has a term of years, referred to as a statute of limitations, within which the debt collector must file suit or lose the right to do so. Once expired, you may be sued but you not forced to pay if you raise the statute of limitations as a defense. Debt collectors routinely sue on old debt in hopes that the consumer will not know how to respond, however a law suit that seeks payment for a stale debt violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
3. Keep Records of All Contacts With All Debt Collectors: Save “throw away” letters seeking payment or communications from a debt collector. Keep a log of calls, date, time, originating phone number and caller. If you have an agreement or sent a letter, retain copies. Keep these in a safe place. Often what is resolved or dealt with on one day, can reappear later without any acknowledgment by the collector of the prior events. And debts are routinely rotated between several debt collection agencies, usually without any communication between them regarding your account. Perhaps most importantly, debt collectors benefit by the absence of keeping records, calling and writing over and over again if it will lead to more money being paid. Track your accounts, know your history with debt collectors and don’t trust your memory alone.
Debt Collectors May Not:
- communicate before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. local time
- communicate with consumers at their place of employment after having been advised that the employer does not permit such calls
- misrepresent its identity as a debt collector
- publish the consumer’s name or address
- engage in communication with third parties except to obtain the current address or phone number of a debtor
- threaten to or actually report false credit report information
What is CreditLaw.com? We are lawyers who stop abuse by debt collectors in their tracks. A service of Kimmel & Silverman, PC, helping over 50,000 consumers since 1991.