Reveal Law

Know Your Rights: Defeating Unfair Debt Collectors with Legal Power

Dealing with debt can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It can be even more challenging when debt collectors employ unfair or abusive tactics in their pursuit of payment.

Fortunately, there are laws in place to protect consumers from such practices. In this article, we will explore the limitations on debt collection tactics and what you can do if you find yourself on the receiving end of unfair practices.

Limitations on Debt Collection Tactics:

1. Contacting debtors at inconvenient times or locations:

Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting debtors before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless the debtor has given express permission.

Additionally, debt collectors cannot contact debtors at their place of employment if they have been informed that such contact is not allowed. 2.

Contacting friends or neighbors about the debt:

Debt collectors are not allowed to contact third parties, such as friends or neighbors, about the debt unless they are seeking location information about the debtor. They are also prohibited from disclosing the purpose of their call or providing any details about the debt to these third parties.

3. Making false statements about identity or situation:

Debt collectors are not allowed to misrepresent their identity or falsely claim to be an attorney, government official, or law enforcement agency.

They are also prohibited from making threats of legal action that they do not intend to take, or from implying that they have the power to take actions they are not legally authorized to do. 4.

Engaging in abusive or harassing conduct:

Debt collectors are prohibited from using threats of violence, obscenities, or profanity during their communications with debtors. They cannot call repeatedly with the intention of harassing the debtor, and they are not allowed to come to the debtor’s home or place of work if the debtor has requested that they do not do so.

5. Misrepresenting the amount of the debt:

Debt collectors must accurately state the amount of the debt owed.

They are not allowed to misrepresent the amount by adding unauthorized interest or fees, or by claiming that they have a different agreement with the creditor than what actually exists. 6.

Making threats to sue after the statute of limitations expires:

After a certain amount of time, known as the statute of limitations, has passed, debt collectors may no longer file a lawsuit to collect the debt. It is illegal for debt collection agencies to threaten legal action after the statute of limitations has expired.

7. Making threats to execute on an expired judgment:

If a judgment has already expired, meaning it is no longer legally enforceable, debt collectors cannot threaten to garnish wages or seize property.

Misrepresenting the enforceable lifespan of a judgment is a violation of debt collection practices. 8.

Misuse of post-dated checks:

Debt collectors must not use post-dated checks provided by debtors to collect payment. It is a violation of debt collection practices to deposit post-dated checks before the agreed-upon date, especially if there are insufficient funds in the debtor’s account.

9. Leaving anonymous messages on answering devices:

When contacting debtors by phone, debt collectors must identify themselves and state the purpose of their call.

Leaving anonymous messages or using trickery to disguise their identity is not allowed. What to Do About Unfair Debt Collection Practices:

1.

Know your rights and notice:

If you believe a debt collector is engaging in unfair practices, it is important to understand your rights. Demand that they provide you with written notice of the debt, including the amount owed and the name of the creditor.

Take steps to dispute the debt if you believe there is an error. 2.

Stop debt collector contact:

If you want a debt collector to stop contacting you, send them a letter stating your desire for them to cease communication. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

If the harassment continues, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s attorney general’s office, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Dealing with debt collectors can be intimidating, but it is important to remember that you have rights.

By familiarizing yourself with the limitations on debt collection tactics and taking appropriate action when faced with unfair practices, you can protect yourself and work towards resolving your debt in a fair and lawful manner.

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