If you haven’t been paying your bills, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be hearing from the dreaded debt collector. Debt collectors are people, other than creditors, who try to collect debts owed to a third party. Lawyers on occasion may also participate in collecting debt. However, when it comes to calls made at 3am in the morning, or a debt collector that constantly harasses you to pay the money you owe, you should know that you have rights.
In fact, Federal law requires debt collectors to treat you fairly. This means:
Debt collectors can contact you, whichever way they deem appropriate, by either telephone, mail, telegram or fax; however, they are not allowed to contact you at inopportune times or places, unless that is you approve of it.
Debt collectors may not attempt to contact you at work, if they know that your place of employment prohibits this type of communication. If they do this than they are at fault and should be held accountable for their actions, and you can report them to the Better Business Bureau.
If you’re attorney is representing you in regards to your debt, the debt collector must contact your attorney and discuss your debt situation with them, not with you. If you don’t have an attorney, debt collectors have the right to contact others about you. They have the right to obtain information such as your current phone number, address, and place of employment.
Debt collectors do not have the right to harass, abuse or oppress you or third parties they speak with. In fact, you can sue the debt collector who does this. However, keep in mind that if you decide to go through with a lawsuit, you’ll need proof and plenty of money to hire a lawyer to help you win your case.
Debt collectors may not mislead or be dishonest with anyone when they attempt to collect a debt. While debt collectors can file a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, they cannot threaten you with a lawsuit, just to get you to pay the debt.
For example, they cannot say they will garnish your wages or sell your property if it is not legal.
- They cannot threaten to sue you if they do not plan to follow through with it.
- Cannot inflate the amount of debt you owe.
- Say that they will arrest you if you don’t pay the debt.
- They cannot threaten you with violence.
While no one ever wants to hear from a debt collector, many people will. The best way to deal with a debt collector is in a polite manner. Remember, that they have a job to do and even though you are less than thrilled to hear from them, try your best to be courteous. Pay off your debt as quickly as possible and you won’t have to worry about any of these problems.