How To Deal With Debt Collectors
I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.
Your Rights Under the FDCPA
The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:
- Identify themselves in every form of communication
- Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
- Verify the name and address of the original collector
- Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt
If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.
Taking Legal Action
The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.
- Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
- Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
- Profane or abusive language is not allowed
- Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
- A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
- Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop
A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.
Suing the Debt Collector
If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.
Continued Harassment and Next Steps
The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:
- Collection Letters you received
- Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
- Telephone Bills
- Notes and contact info taken during call
- Take screenshots of your caller ID info
A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.
Article by Breana Washington
Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.
If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.
Check out Credit Law Center’s info-graphic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.