If you’ve fallen behind on your bills, chances are you have been contacted by debt collectors. However, debt collectors need to abide by the law, and they cannot use unfair or deceptive practices when trying to collect overdue debts. If you feel you are being harassed by a debt collector, it might be worth your while to contact an attorney and determine if you can seek legal remedy.
Collections Harassment and the FDCPA
More often than not, harassment pertaining to debt collection comes from third-party collectors. They are not the original providers of credit – instead, they purchase outstanding debts from original creditors with the aim of collecting what’s overdue.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) places limitations on the actions that third-party collectors can take when collecting unpaid debts. The FDCPA safeguards the interest of borrowers in different ways, and here are guidelines that debt collectors need to follow.
- A debt collector can contact you only from 8 am to 9 pm (local time).
- A debt collector cannot try to collect on an expired debt (in California, this is four years from the date of default).
- A debt collector cannot contact you at work when asked not to.
- A debt collector cannot reveal any of your debt-related information to your friends, family members, acquaintances, or anyone else you might know.
- A debt collector cannot threaten you, harm you, use abusive language, or harass you in any way.
- A debt collector cannot lie about your debt.
What a Debt Collector Must Do
- They need to identify themselves clearly, even when leaving messages.
- They need to provide information about the original creditor.
- They need to inform debtors that they have the right to dispute the debts in question.
- Upon request, debt collectors need to validate your debts.
If you feel that a debt collector or a debt collection agency is violating any rule of the FDCPA, you have the right to seek legal recourse, and even to sue the collector/collection agency. In any such scenario, you can trust our highly experienced attorneys to guide you in the right direction.
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