With massive unemployment and “under-employment”, harassing phone calls from debt collectors have become a way of life for many Americans. Collection agencies can be rude, threatening and can create intimidation. Most people do not realize their protection under the law. Collection agencies are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or the (FDCPA). Here are some bullet points:
Why They Can Call:
They can only call you about the debts that they can prove you owe. Always ask for verification of the debt by mail and if they cannot or will not, you can ask them to not call you anymore, nor are they allowed to contact again. Also, many people make the mistake of offering personal information or “verification” information to the debt collector.Do not give information, if they are calling you, then they should have your information.
They Can Call You:
A collection agency can only call you between 8:00am and 9:00pm your local time.
What They Are Not Allowed To Do:
1.) Use threats of violence or harm.
2.) Use false or misleading statements such as that they are Attorneys or Government representatives, imply that you committed a crime; hint that they work for a credit bureau; say that the police will arrest you if you do not pay or use false names.
3.) Use profane language or repeatedly use the telephone to call and harass.
What Can You Do:
When you receive an initial letter from a collection agency, that initial letter is what is called a “dunning” letter. It is your opportunity to respond and ask for validation of the debt. You should respond by sending a letter within the 30 day time frame and ask for validation of the debt (if you feel it is invalid) and ask them not to contact you again unless they can prove the debt and their legal ability to collect it. You can call our office for more information regarding the “dunning letter”.
Collection and Credit Scores:
Remember, collections always affect your credit file to the negative. Dealing with collections and rebuilding credit can sometimes be complicated. Many collection agencies do business the right way and have compliant operations, however we have heard of some real cases of abuse and you need to know your rights and be informed. We have helped hundreds of clients settle collections and do it the right way and many times even having the account removed after payment so credit scores can rebound. If you need help with collections, please call us for an evaluation of your situation.