When falling behind on debt, companies generally turn your account over to a collection agency. It’s their job to recuperate their clients’ losses. However, they must act professionally and follow the rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
From misrepresenting affiliations to harassment, these are the five things debt collectors are forbidden to do:
1. Misrepresent Government Affiliations
Debt collectors get paid a percentage of the money they recuperate, which means they may go to such extremes. FDCPA regulations prohibit debt collectors from misrepresenting government affiliations.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors must identify:
- Their name
- Amount you owe
- Debt collection agency name
- Name of the original creditor
- Pertinent dates
Many consumers have fallen prey to a collector’s shady tactics. Document any instances of false misrepresentations if you notice them, and get legal help.
2. Threaten Your Freedom
Debt collectors cannot imply or say that you’ve committed a crime. They’re also not allowed to threaten you with an arrest. Keep in mind that agencies don’t have this kind of authority.
However, there are legitimate reasons that you may have to appear in civil court if the creditor sues you. If you don’t appear in court, the judge could issue an arrest warrant.
3. Share Information About You Publicly
Collection agencies aren’t permitted to make public statements related to your debt. The reality is that you may or may not owe it, and public shaming may result in libel or slander.
On the other hand, debt collects are allowed to call third parties to obtain your personal contact information, including:
- Mailing address
- Home phone
- Cell phone
- Work phone
- Place of employment
The debt collector is generally permitted to contact third parties once. Additional calls and messages may constitute harassment.
4. Repossess Property You Don’t Own
If you own something valuable, such as a home or car, debt collection agencies could put a lien on your assets. However, the debt collector cannot repossess or place a lien on a property that belongs to someone else.
Before paying off the debt to avoid legal action, ensure that it belongs to you first. Send a letter to the agency using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) template.
5. Harass You and Your Family
Harassment by a debt collector is prohibited. The law outlines what harassment is and offers remedies for consumers affected by it.
Debt collectors may not engage in the following acts:
- Threaten physical harm
- Use obscene language
- Repeatedly call work or home.
- Call in your time zone between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
- Call you at work if you requested home contact.
Some circumstances give collection agents the authority to contact you regularly but only for legitimate business reasons.
Get Legal Help If Debt Collectors Violate Your Rights
If debt collectors are harassing you, you don’t have to let it happen. Get legal help from a debt collector harassment attorney. We can protect your rights while ensuring that you aren’t paying any debts that they can’t prove.