It’s likely that you have collectors trying to get in touch with you if you’re behind on credit card and loan payments. While this is legal, it’s also required that they follow the limitations and regulations set in place by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is an act that is meant to protect your rights as a consumer and keeps creditors and collectors from harassing debtors. If you’re in debt and have been dealing with collectors, it’s important to know the regulations enforced by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, so that you’ll know if your rights are being violated.
Debts covered under the act
Personal, family, and household debts are protected under the act. Examples include medical debt, mortgages, car loans and credit card debt.
Appropriate times of contact
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act limits the times of day in which a debt collector may legally contact a consumer. A debt collector is not allowed to contact you after 9:00PM in the evening, or before 8:00AM in the morning, unless you give the debt collector permission to do so. They are allowed to contact you at work, until you tell them you don’t want them to. After you tell them (whether verbally or in writing) to not call you at work, they must respect your wishes and not call your place of employment again.
Contacting other people
If a debt collector is unsuccessful at getting in touch with you, he or she may try to find you by contacting other people close to you, such as friends and family. Not only are they usually limited to only contacting third parties just once, but it must only be to ask for your phone number, place of employment, and your address. They are not allowed to tell other people (other than your spouse or a lawyer representing you about the debt) about the money you owe.
A debt collector may not threaten harm or violence upon you, or use obscene language when contacting you. Additionally, a debt collector is not allowed to make false statements and use other scare tactics to persuade you to pay off your debt; for example, claiming you will go to jail if you don’t pay off your debt is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These are just a handful of the many examples that can fall under off-limit practices. If you believe a debt collector has crossed the line, take note of the time and date of the questionable activity and write down all information and details. Present this information to your lawyer to see if you have a potential case against the debt collector.