Consumers’ rights: creditor harassment
If you are having difficulty with your finances, you should know that you still have rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers against unfair collection methods.
Under the mandates of the law, debt collectors cannot do some of the following actions.
Harassment: Collectors cannot repeatedly call and harass you. While they may contact you, if they are calling incessantly at bad times of the day (or night), this is illegal. It may help to make a record of how many times a collector calls. If it is too much, you may need this documented information to file a complaint.
Written notice: Within five days of contact, the debt collector must send written notice of the outstanding debt. The notice should include the amount of debt, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed. It should also include your right to dispute the balance.
Privacy: While collectors may contact your neighbor or relative to receive your contact information, they may not reveal any information bout your debt. Furthermore, there are limits on the number of times that they may contact your acquaintances and family members.
Cease communication: You have the right to tell a debt collector to stop contacting you. You must do so in writing. Once the notice is received, he or she must stop calling. After this step, a collector may only send notification of legal action to you.
These are just a few of the important rights that exist under the ambit of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You are also protected against collector calls in the event that a bankruptcy process has been initiated.
To learn more about your financial rights, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A lawyer can help you work through money troubles.
Source: Yahoo! News, “11 Ways a Debt Collector May Be Breaking the Law,” Gerri Detweiler, April 20, 2013