For anyone who has fallen behind paying their bills, or had their debts turned over for collection, you know what it's like to get those calls from bill collectors. They call you at all hours at home, call you at work and constantly send you notices in the mail. Is there anything you can do to stop these debt collectors, or at least slow them down? Yes there is.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, all debts for personal, family and household, are covered. Debt collectors must abide by the rules set up under this act. Some of the debts this act includes are: car loans, medical bills, credit card debt, personal loans and home mortgages.
A debt collector can contact you over the telephone, by mail, or even in person. They can call you anytime after 8:00 AM and before 9:00 PM. A bill collector can also call you at your job unless you tell them to stop. A debt collector can't contact anyone else about your debts other than your attorney if you have one.
What can't a debt collector do?
Every bill collector has certain rules to abide by. They may never: Harass or abuse you Threaten you with violence Use profane or obscene language toward you Call you repeatedly over the phone just to annoy you Make false statements or imply they are attorneys or government reps Make false claims such as you will be arrested if you don't pay your bills Use false names or deceive you into believing they are someone they aren't Give false information about your account to a credit bureau Tell you that you have committed a crime falsely Deposit a post-dated check before the date that is written
What options do you have if a debt collector violates the law?
You can actually sue any debt collector who openly violates the law. You have one year from the date of violation to file a suit in court. And if you win your case, the debt collector may have to pay you money damages, court costs and attorney fees.
How do you report a debt collector?
Anytime you believe your rights have been violated by a debt collector, you can call your states Attorney General and report them. They can assist you in what to do next. The Federal Trade Commission should also be notified about the situation.
How can you stop a debt collector from contacting you?
If you want to make a bill collector stop contacting you, simply write them a letter and tell them to stop immediately. When they receive your letter, they can no longer contact you unless it is to tell you that your creditor is taking some other legal action.
This doesn't mean that the debt is going away. If you actually owe the money to your creditor, you can still be sued to collect on it.
While no one enjoys getting calls from debt collectors, you don't have to live with any harassment from them. Knowing the laws and rules can help you make the best of an upsetting situation until you can get your debts paid off and get back on your feet again.
Your Independent guide to Debt Solutions
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