The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) limits the tactics that debt collectors can take to collect on a debt. Here are 10 things debt collectors can and cannot do.
5 Things Debt Collectors Cannot Do:
- Come to your place of work. It is illegal for a debt collector to come to your workplace to collect on a debt. The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector publicizing your debts and showing up at your place of work to collect on a debt.
- Harass you. Harassment can come in a variety of forms and include: repeated phone calls, threats of violence, publishing information about you, abusive or obscene language.
- Arrest you for debt. You cannot be arrested for a debt you owe.
- Purse you for a debt you do not owe. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to a debt collector pursuing the wrong person for payment. The issue is not uncommon, but it is illegal.
- Call you at any time. It is illegal for debt collectors to call you before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. You can request that a debt collector stop calling you, but your obligation to pay still remains.
5 Things Debt Collectors Can Do:
- Seek payment on an expired debt. Even debts that expired according to the statute of limitations can still be requested from debt collectors. These unsecured debts can include credit cards and medical bills. Remember: You cannot be sued for payment on these expired debts.
- Pressure you. While debt collectors cannot threaten you, they can apply pressure to collect payment. Pressure can include daily calls, frequent letters or talk about pursuing a lawsuit for payment.
- Sue you for payment on a debt. A debt collector can sue you for non-payment. These type lawsuits can result in wage garnishment, bank levies or both. It is best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you are sued or there is a judgment entered against you in regard to an outstanding debt.
- Sell your debt. A collector can resell debt it has not been able to collect on. So if one debt collector stops contacting you about a debt, do not be surprised if another starts.
- Negotiate what you owe. Because debt collectors buy debts for sometimes pennies on the dollar, they have fairly large profit margins if they collect the original amount owed. This gives them more flexibility in negotiating payment. You may be able to negotiate a settlement for 25% or 30% of what you originally owed. Remember, to get the agreement in writing so you have proof that the amount paid was all that was required in the settlement.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.