Debt collections are easily one of the most stressful situations a person can face. Dealing with debt collectors is also one of the most complained about issues, and it is not hard to see why. It helps to know how to handle debt collectors and the protections you have as a consumer.
When you are struggling to make ends meet financially, it can be frustrating to have debt collectors calling you or even worse, the threat of having your wages garnished or a lawsuit filed against you. A strong federal law, called The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), protects consumers against certain unfair collection practices, which include:
- Calling you repeatedly to annoy or harass you.
• Trying to collect more than you owe.
• Fail to send a written notice of the debt.
• Threatening violence.
• Threatening dire consequences (i.e. – lawsuits, criminal prosecution, wage garnishment, jail time, permanently ruining your credit).
• Using profanity and abusive language.
• Calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
• Revealing debt to third parties (i.e. – family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.).
• Contacting you at your work, after you have requested them to stop.
• Failing to verify disputed debts.
• Ignoring cease communication requests.
What Happens During Collections?
The first thing a consumer will notice after an account has been sent to collections is the number of calls from the creditor or the collection agency will increase. Debt collectors will try any means possible to get a hold of the debtor and get payment, even if this means violating a consumer’s rights. The debt collector will contact the consumer at any location possible, including home, cell phone or work number. When it comes to contacting you at work, certain restrictions do exist. The debt collector may not disclose any information regarding the individual’s debt, and if the individual requests that the communication stop at that point at the place of employment, under The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), the collector may not contact the person at work further.
The FDCPA also dictates other requirements as to when the collector can call, which is only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. The debt collector is also restricted from using any language or tactics that may be deemed harassing, threatening or abusive. If the debt collector tries to contact other third parties, such as friends or family members of the individual, they may not disclose information on why they are trying to reach the debtor but can only contact them to get the correct contact information for them.
Validation of Debt
Consumers have the right to request written validation of the debt from the debt collector. In fact, the debt collector is required to notify you that he or she has the right to request this validation within 30 days after receiving the first written communication from the debt collector. Requesting validation of the debt from the debt collector can also be done over the phone. By requesting validation of the debt, the consumer is making the debt collector verify that the debt is actually owed.
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If you have 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.