According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), collectors have reached out to one-third of all consumers over the past year in an attempt to recover a debt. Although there are many laws in place to protect consumers, the CFPB reported that approximately 25 percent of all grievances the agency has received are complaints about debt collection practices. The CFPB recently proposed new rules to better protect consumers against illegal or unethical debt collection practices.
The CFPB recommends these four measures you need to take when debt collectors call:
- Know your rights. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), this will help you better understand your rights as a consumers and how you are protected by the CFPB. When a debt collector contacts you, make sure you tell them you are aware of your rights under the FDCPA.
- Verify everything. Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are legally require to follow up their call with a written notice detailing your debt. Make sure you ask for that information while you have them on the phone. You also need to verify the debt and the collector. Sometimes debt collectors try to collect “zombie debt” that is past the statute of limitations in your state.
- Take detailed notes. Write down every time the collector makes contact with you. In your notes include: the agency’s name, the number they called from or the email address used, the time of the call and the name of the representative you spoke with. Also write down any threats that are made or unethical tactics the collector used to get you to pay the debt.
- Complain to the CFPB. If you know your rights and you are aware that a debt collector has violated the FDCPA to try to collect debts, report the encounters to the CFPB.
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If you 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.