Falling behind on your bills can happen to anyone for any number of different reasons. Whether you are having financial trouble for the first time in your life, or it has been a constant struggle, the debt collectors are typically uncaring and willing to do just about anything to get as much money as possible from you.
Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is in place to ensure these debt collectors are kept in check. Unfortunately, however, many debt collectors regularly violate this law. If you don’t know what protections the FDCPA provides, you can’t take any steps to fight back. Read through the following tactics that collectors commonly take that are actually illegal. If you have experienced any of these issues, make sure to let us know so we can help you take legal action against them.
1. Discussing Debts with Third Parties
Debt collectors may not discuss your debts with third parties without permission. This means they can’t call your relatives, employer, or other people and tell them that you owe them money. In some situations, they can call other numbers related to yours to try to get in contact, but if they talk about why they are calling, it may be a violation of the law.
2. Abusive Language
Collectors can not use abusive language such as swearing, belittling, or otherwise abusing you on the phone or via mail. This includes using a threat of violence, a threat to publish information about you publicly, or anything else that can be considered abusive. Debt collectors often try to walk a fine line in this area, so if you are feeling abused or harassed, it is a good idea to talk with an attorney.
3. False or Misleading Claims
Whether on the phone, through email, or through traditional mail, collectors may not make false or misleading claims. For example, they can’t claim that they are a lawyer if they are not. They also can’t claim that they will notify the police, and have you arrested. This is another area where unscrupulous collectors will try to walk a fine line, so make sure you take care to document exactly what they are saying if you feel they are not being truthful.
4. Excessive Contact
Debt collectors are limited in when and where they are permitted to contact you. For example, calls prior to 8AM or after 9PM in YOUR time zone are typically considered unusual or inconvenient. This can be considered harassment, especially if you have told them not to call during these hours. Additionally, if you have told a collector not to contact you on a work number, they must stop immediately.
Protect Your Rights
If you feel that debt collectors are violating your legal rights, you need to take action to stop them. There are many things you can do to protect your rights. The first step is to tell them if they are doing something inappropriate. For example, if they are calling you on a work number, tell them clearly that it is a work line and they are not permitted to call you on it any longer. If the harassment continues, begin recording the conversations to use in court, should that become necessary. In addition, make sure to contact us and schedule a free consultation. We’ll not only advise you on what options you have for dealing with collectors, but we can also help you with bankruptcy so you can get back on strong financial footing.