If you use credit cards and own money on them or if you owe money on a personal loan, you are a considered a “debtor.” Should you fall behind in repaying these creditors, or an error is made on your accounts, you may be contacted by a debt collector, as a debt relief program may be in hand for you. You should know that in either situation, there is a Federal Law called the Fair Debt Creditor Practices Act that can help you. This law requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods (see the list below) from being used by these debt collectors. Of course, the law does not erase any legitimate debts that you owe. A debt reduction company may be able to help you in this situation.
Most debts that are covered by the Fair Debt Creditors Practices Act include personal debt, family debt, and household debts. This includes money owed for the purchase of an automobile, for medical care, or for credit card accounts. On the other hand, a debt collector is any person who regularly collects debts owed to others. This can include attorneys who collect debts for creditors on a regular basis.
For example, a collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. A debt collector also may not contact you at work if the collector knows that your employer disapproves of such contacts.
If you need debt help, you can stop a debt collector from contacting you simply by writing a letter to them telling them to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to say there will be no further contact or to notify you that the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action against you. Please note, however, that sending such a letter to a collector does not make the debt go away. You could still be sued by the debt collector or your original creditor. This is another reason why we recommend you contact a debt relief company.
In addition, a debt collector may contact others about your debt. For example, if you have an attorney, the debt collector may contact the attorney, rather than you. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. In most cases, the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.
A debt collector must disclose certain information about the debt? For example, within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money. A collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you receive the written notice, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.
Prohibited debt collection practices include:
- Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact.
- Use threats of violence or harm.
- Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau).
- Use obscene or profane language.
- Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.
- May not use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt.
For example, debt collectors may not:
- Falsely imply that they are attorneys or government representatives.
- Falsely imply that you have committed a crime.
- Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit bureau.
- Misrepresent the amount of your debt.
- Indicate that papers being sent to you are legal forms when they are not.
- Indicate that papers being sent to you are not legal forms when they are.
Debt collectors also may not state that:
- You will be arrested if you do not pay your debt.
- They will seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so, and it is legal to do so.
- Suggest actions, such as a lawsuit, will be taken against you, when such action legally may not be taken, or when they do not intend to take such action.
You can report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission. Many states have their own debt collection laws, and your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights.
For more information about this subject or additional debt relief services including a FREE debt reduction quote please call one of our trained advisors at 800-890-6658 or simply by clicking here: Contact Us