Debt Collection Consumer Rights
Written by Debtfree on March 6, 2018
Falling behind and missing debt payments frequently can compel your lender to hand over your account to a debt collection agency. And that is what every debtor dreads. The last thing you want is threatening collection calls from debt collectors at ungodly hours. Persistent collection calls can make your challenging financial situation all the more stressful. But did you know that debt collectors are not allowed to threat or harass debtors? Well, if you didn’t, then you are not the only one. Unfortunately, not many people know about debt collection consumer rights. And for that reason thousands of debtors continue to get harassed by debt collectors. They are taken advantage of and treated unfairly because they don’t know and understand their consumer rights.
The good news is that debtors have rights and lots of rights all thanks to the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act enforced by the Federal Trade Commission-consumer protection agency. Continue reading to learn more about the debt collection consumer rights.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive language, unfair and deceptive practices to collect debt owed by debtors. This federal law explicitly lays down set of rules that 3rd party debt collectors must follow and abide by when contacting a debtor for collection. This act covers personal and household debts including money you owe on credit card account, medical bills, mortgage and auto loan.
According to the FDCPA, you, the debtor, has the right to determine if the debt is valid or not. And for that you can demand the debt collector to send you a written validation notice. The notice must clearly state how much money is owed, the name of the creditor and what steps you, the debtor, can take to correct the problem. If you think the debt is not valid, then you have 30 days to respond to the debt collector in writing explaining the reason why it is invalid and request the collector to stop contacting you. Send the request in writing and make sure you have the return receipt as the proof.
Also, as per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act you don’t have to put up and tolerate unfair and abusive behavior from unscrupulous collectors. You can file a complaint to the FDC if the collector doesn’t follow the communication rules laid in the FDCPA.
Here are 10 rules that debt collectors must follow when contacting debtors for unpaid bills. Remember if they fail to adhere to these rules you have the right to complain.
1. No Late Night or Early Morning Calls
Debt collectors can not call debtors before 8am or after 9pm unless you ask them to call at a different time. No matter how big your debt may be, you still have the right to a peaceful morning and a good night sleep.
2. No Calls at Work
The FDCPA gives debtors the right to ignore debt collection calls at work. This means debt collectors cannot contact you at work if you disapprove of it. So, if you don’t want debt collectors to bother you at work tell them straight away, remember it’s your right and collectors have to adhere to it!
3. No Continuous and Harassing Calls
Debt collectors cannot harass debtors by calling several times a day about for an unpaid bill. If they do, then simply request in writing to the collection agency to stop calling you continuously. Make sure to keep the copy for your record by asking for a return receipt when you mail the letter. If the collector continues to call you, then you have the right to file a complaint with the FTC. Did you know the FTC can sue debt collection agency if it has high FTC complaints?
4. You Don’t Have to Put Up With Verbal Abuse
By law, you, the debtor, have the right to complain to FTC if the debt collector uses profanities when contacting you for debt payment. You can report abuse or seek recourse if the debt collector breaks the law.
5. No False Statements
Debt collectors cannot use unfair practices and make false statements. They cannot lie to you by falsely telling you that they are attorneys when actually they are not. Report to the FTC immediately, if you feel that the debt collector has lied to you! Other practices that are off limits for debt collectors include:
- Falsely claiming that you have committed a crime
- Falsely representing themselves as members of credit reporting companies
- Misrepresenting the amount owed
- Falsely claiming that you, the debtor, will be arrested if you don’t pay back the debt
- Threat you that they will sell your property
6. No Informing Friends and Family Members
Debt collectors are not allowed to tell any other person how much debt you owe. They can only reach out to your friends and family members to acquire your contact number and address.
The law gives debtors the right to dispute a debt, complain illegal practices of debt collectors and negotiate repayment plans. Just because you don’t have the ability to pay your dues and payment doesn’t mean that debt collectors can take undue advantage of your situation. Remember debt collectors may sometimes resort to unfair practices and even make false claims typically because they are only interested in closing the collection case as quick as possible to earn their commission.