Your Rights Against Harassment By Debt Collectors
Debt collectors are often considered relentless hounds in search of your money. They’ll take drastic measures to make sure you pay your debts because that’s how they get paid. Many debt collectors cross the line and wreak havoc on your daily life. Here are some rules they are not supposed to violate.
Whether you are responsible for any debts sent to a debt collections agency or were wrongly accused of being financially liable, everyone has certain rights against debt collectors. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) dictates the laws to which debt collectors must abide or you have the right to sue them for any violations.
Debt collectors have been known for constantly calling you at all hours of the day to hurry the repayment process. Not only does this become a common nuisance, it can be negative impact on your health and productivity when you should be focused on making money to clear your debt.
You can relax knowing that debt collectors are prohibited from contacting you from 9PM at night to 8AM in the morning unless you agree to it. Collectors may not call you at work if they received verbal or written warning that they are not allowed to do so.
After making the first contact with debt collectors, they are required to send you a written validation notice within five days stating the amount you owe, the creditor to whom you owe the money, and what to do if you don’t think you owe the money.
If you don’t want the debt collector to contact you again, you should write a letter stating you no longer wish to be contacted by them. Make a copy of the latter before sending it out via certified mail with a return receipt. Afterwards, the debt collect may contact you only to let you know that there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor will be taking a specific action such as filing to sue.
If you do owe money, you are not off the hook as you are still responsible for repaying your debt. The credit or debt collector may not contact you but they can take legal action in an attempt to collect what is owed.
In any communicative encounter, the debt collector cannot do any of the following:
- Issue threats of violence or harm
- Harass anyone using the phone or leave repeated voicemails
- Disclose information of people who don’t pay their debts (except credit bureaus)
- Claim you’ve committed a crime or say you’ll be arrested
- Use inappropriate or profane language
- Falsifying information, identities, documents, or affiliations
- Seize, garner, or sell your property or wages unless allowed by a court ruling
What to Do If Debt Collectors Violates Rules
You have the right to sue any debt collector within one year from the date that a rule was violated. It is possible that you will be awarded compensation for damages due to illegal debt collection practices. The judgment could amount to up to $1,000 in addition to reimbursement of legal fees and court costs.
Whether or not a debt collector respects your rights and follows the laws, you are still have to repay the debt if it indeed belongs to you - essential to maintaining a good credit report. Failure to do would most likely result in a lawsuit from the debt collection agency or creditor. If they win, it grants them the right to seize your bank accounts and garner your wages.
For more information about debt collection rights and laws, visit the FTC Debt Collection FAQs.