Although you may owe a debt, it doesn’t mean that you have to put up with debt collector harassment. The situation is already stressful enough, and our laws protect your rights when debt collectors decide to take illegal actions. Learn to exercise them.
Here are the six tips for dealing with debt harassment by collectors:
Tip 1. Learn About Debt Collector Contact Rules
The rules are transparent when it comes to the times and places that debt collectors may call you. For instance, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), they can’t contact you between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am in your local time zone. They’re also not permitted to contact you at work if you’ve specified otherwise.
You should also know that they can request verification and contact information from your employer and other third parties. However, they’re only allowed to perform these actions once.
Tip 2. Note Any Illegal Statements
Debt collectors cannot make illegal or false statements. The Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) clarifies what they can and cannot say. Take note of any threatening or abusive language or repeated telephone calls to your work or home.
Tip 3. Exercise Your Right to Privacy
Debt collectors may only ask you for information regarding the debt they’re attempting to collect. They can’t ask you about your income or tell you to pawn personal belongings to pay a debt. If they start discussing these elements, inform them of your rights under the FDCPA and ask to speak with a supervisor.
Tip 4. Ask the Debt Collectors to Put It in Writing
You have a right to request proof of your debt. Exercise this option since it will give you two advantages.
First, you have a little more time to handle the debt since they need to give you extra time to address it. Second, you’ll have a chance to see their allegations in writing, and you can confirm or refute their proof after reviewing your records.
The information they must provide should include:
- Amounts owed
- Name of the original creditor
- Pertinent dates
- How to dispute the debt
If you didn’t incur the debt, get legal help when initiating the dispute process. Doing so will help you avoid unintended legal errors and consequences.
Tip 5. Turn the Tables on Them
Debt collection companies must supply specific information about themselves when contacting you about an account.
Therefore, it would be best to exercise this rule by asking them to identify their:
- Phone number
- Company name
They’re also required to provide a supervisor’s name and address upon request. Ensure that you get this information as well for a more strategic approach when dealing with debt collectors.
Tip 6. Get Legal Help If Debt Harassment Doesn’t Stop
If you think debt collectors are harassing you, you have a right to legal remedy. First, take careful notes about any instances of debt harassment and report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The more you exercise your rights, the less likely a debt collector will take advantage of your vulnerable position.
Let them know that debt harassment is never acceptable or okay. A debt harassment lawyer can help you pursue a claim if they’ve violated your protected rights under the FDCPA. In addition, there’s a statute of limitations that applies, which means you should seek legal counsel as soon as you can.