How Far Are Debt Collectors Allowed to Go to Collect a Debt?
Debt collectors have the right to try to collect a debt from you, but there are rules that these collectors must follow. However, many times, these collectors break the rules because consumers are not aware of the laws that protect them from predatory debt collection practices. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, you may be able to get protection.
First, What Can Debt Collectors Legally Do to Attempt to Obtain Payment?
If you have an unpaid debt, companies have the right to sell your debt to a collector and those collectors have the right to attempt to obtain payment. They are allowed to call you at home and at work. They are allowed to come to your house. They are allowed to send mail to your home. They are allowed to take you to court. However, they are not allowed to do these things at all hours of the day and night, and you can tell them not to contact you at work.
What else can they NOT do?
You Are Protected from Predatory Debt Collection Practices
In 1978, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted. This bill enacted laws that protected both debt collector’s right to pursue debts and debtor’s right to not be harassed. Specifically, the bill collectors are allowed to:
- Call you at home and at work unless asked not to.
- Send you mail at home.
- Take you to court to collect the debt.
- Come to your home to talk to you about the debt.
- Contact the credit bureaus to notify them of the debt.
They are not allowed to:
- Call you before 8am and after 9pm.
- Threaten you or your property with violence or harm.
- Advertise your debt except to credit bureaus.
- Use profanity.
- Threaten to take you to court without the intention to do so.
- Threaten arrest if you do not pay the debt.
- Threaten to take your money or property. It should be noted that they can do this if they take you to court and the court rules in their favor.
- Use a false name.
- Use a post-dated check prematurely.
- Fail to identify themselves appropriately on the phone.
- Call you at your place of employment after you have asked them not to.
- Contact you after you have obtained legal representation and they have been notified.
- Create social media accounts and contact your friends and relatives in order to track you down.
If You Are Served to Appear in Court
Do not panic. This is a common tactic used by debt collectors to scare individuals into debt repayment plans they cannot afford. Do not give any further information to the collector and contact an attorney right away. The attorney’s office will contact the collector to let them know you have obtained representation and to no longer contact you directly. Do not ignore the summons because failure to appear in court will cause the court to automatically rule in favor of the collector.
If you have been served with an order to appear in court for a debt, you need help. Elias Dsouza of Dsouza and Strachan Lawgroup Group has been assisting people just like you navigate this situation. Contact Elias today for a free consultation.