It can be scary and overwhelming when a debt collector starts contacting you about unpaid bills. With household debt at $12.7 trillion in the United States, this is a reality that many Americans have to face every day. However, there are certain things that debt collectors don’t want you to know about their collection tactics. Learn more about what they can and can’t do so you’re better prepared when they contact you.
Collectors must follow the law
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from unfair debt collection practices. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the act, which prohibits collectors from using abusive or deceptive tactics to get you to pay. They can’t threaten you, make false statements, or misrepresent how much you owe.
Request the collector stop contacting you
If a collector is relentlessly contacting you, you can ask them to stop. Send a Certified letter to the collector and request they cease and desist contact with you. The collector must stop contacting you. However, this doesn’t make the debt go away. The debt will most likely be reassigned to a new agency or law firm to attempt collection.
If calls are disruptive, you can also ask that the collector only contact you during certain hours of the day.
Collectors may not contact anyone but you
In some cases, debt collectors will contact family members, neighbors or friends to get your contact information. While this is acceptable, the collector is not allowed to share details about your debt. If they do so, it could be a violation of your consumer rights.
If a family member, neighbor or friend has been contacted about your debt, ask that person to write a statement with details about the contact. They should include the date, time of day, name of the collector, and details about any phone conversation or messages left. Have this statement reviewed by a qualified consumer protection attorney.
You’re entitled to a debt validation
Under the FDCPA, you should receive a letter in the mail within five days after a collector contacts you. The letter should state the amount of the debt and the name of the original creditor. If you don’t dispute the debt within 30 days of receiving this letter, the collector can assume the debt is valid.
If you dispute the debt, you can write the collector and request validation of the debt and an itemization that shows how the balance was calculated.
Seek Legal Help
Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims of abusive collection tactics. Contact Us for a free evaluation of call and letters that you’ve received from collection agencies or law firm collectors.