When you’re facing financial hardship, the last thing you need is a rude debt collector calling to torment you every day. What many people don’t realize is that this harassment is illegal. In fact, Congress enacted the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in 1977 to specifically target third-party collection agencies that harass debtors. Under the FDCPA, debt agencies are no longer able to lie or use other deceptive tactics to collect from people. However, many debt collectors ignore the FDCPA, so it’s important to understand your legal rights.
Rules of Contact
Legally, debt collectors can contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. but are restricted from calling your workplace. They may contact your friends and family members, but only if they require your updated address and phone number. It’s forbidden for debt collectors to discuss your financial situation with unauthorized and unassociated individuals.
During a call, a debt collector is not allowed to:
- Use abusive language
- Threaten arrest
- Blackmail you
- Impersonate law enforcement or credit agency representatives
- Intimidate you with threats of violence
Debt collectors are in violation of federal law if they violate any of these rules. It’s important to hire a bankruptcy attorney if a debt collector has been harassing you. Your lawyer can send the collection agency a cease and desist letter, and speak with the debt collector on your behalf. Unfortunately, this won’t keep your creditors from possibly suing you if you’re unable to pay your debts.
Validating a Debt
One important detail to remember is that a debt collector must always validate the debt they want to recover. Once initial contact has been made, a debt collector has 5 days to send you a written notice listing: the name of the creditor, the amount you owe, and instructions on how to pay the debt. If you don’t receive this notification, you have 30 days to send a debt validation letter requesting the information. This is an important detail of the collection process that protects you from scam artists.
If a collector refuses to validate the debt, they are not allowed to:
- Collect the debt
- Contact you about the debt
- Report your debt to credit bureaus
Retain Legal Representation
Contact The Buchalter Law Group if debt collectors and collection agencies are harassing you. Our Brevard County bankruptcy attorneys have been guiding debtors through this difficult process for over 35 years. We can negotiate with debt collectors on your behalf, and help you pursue legal action if a collection agency breaks the law.
Call The Buchalter Law Group at (321) 320-6088 to schedule a case evaluation.