As a borrower, it’s important that you are aware of the ways that you should be treated by debt collectors. There are governmental rules and regulations that are set up in order to protect you from being harassed by debt collectors and collection agencies. If you are being treated in any of the following ways, then you have the option of alerting the authorities and taking that next step. Read on to find out more about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how you should be treated as a borrower.
First, it’s important to know what types of debtors that the FDCPA covers. If you’re dealing with third-party debt collectors, such as student loans, mortgage loans, or auto loans, then you’re covered. If you’re dealing with loans from another person, like business loans, then you aren’t going to be covered by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Essentially, the FDCPA deals with business to debtor interactions. Companies like Transworld Systems and Midland Credit Management typically fall under this category.
What is Considered Harassment?
There is a time and a place for calls about your debt, and the FDCPA writes that out clearly. Debt collectors can’t call borrowers before 8 A.M. or after 9 A.M unless the borrower has previously confirmed that this is the time that they wanted them to call. Debt collectors can call you at your home or office. But, if you tell the debt collector verbally or in writing that they can’t call your job, then they have to abide by your wishes. Also, if the debt collector doesn’t have contact information on the borrower, then they have the right to call neighbors or relatives to find out that information. But, they can’t give any information about the bill or reveal the fact that they are calling from a debt collection agency. This leads to the fact that they can only discuss your debt with your or your spouse. If you have an attorney that’s representing you in this matter, the debt collector can speak to them about it as well.
Also, debt collectors cannot use or threaten violence in order to collect a loan. They can’t use profane or offensive language. Lying is completely out of the question. They can’t tell you that you owe more than you do. Also, they can’t misrepresent themselves and call themselves attorneys or police officers when they’re not. They also can’t threaten to sue you unless they are actually planning to take that action towards you. All of these actions are thought of an intimidating the consumer.
What is Fair?
Within five days of the first contact, the debt collector is obligated to send you a validation notice. This notice has to have three key pieces of information: how much money that you owe, the person that you owe it to, and what to do if you don’t think that it’s your debt. If you don’t think it’s for you, you can send a letter within 30 days of receiving the verification notice. Then, the debt collector has to send written proof of your debt, like a copy of your bill. The debt collector can contact you in a variety of different ways including by phone, email, mail, and text messaging. If you don’t want to the debt collector to contact you, you have the option of sending a letter by mail and requesting that they stop. Legally, the next time that they contact you will either to confirm that they’ll stop contacting you or that they’ll be taking a step forward (filing a lawsuit, etc.)
Also, in many states, there’s a statute-of-limitations that debt collectors have to abide by when it comes to contacting you about your debt. The time-limit usually begins when you fail to make a payment on one of your loans. Once a debt is a certain amount of years old, it becomes time-barred. But, the rules concerning statute-of-limitations vary in each state and it’s important to research your state’s particular rules before making a move.
Reporting Illegal Activity
If you encounter any illegal activity, then there are a couple of places that you can get in contact with. This includes the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, or your state attorney’s general office. Your laws vary by state, but getting in contact with your state attorney would be the best bet in order to fully abide by state laws and avoid wasting your time.
You can also sue the debt collector within one year that the law was broken. But, it’s important to know that even if you encounter your debt collector engaging in illegal activity, you still have to repay the debt regardless.
Dealing with debt collectors can be a very frustrating and time-consuming experience. But, becoming aware of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, ensures that you know your rights. You then can be aware of any illegal activity and make sure that you’re being treated fairly and honestly by debt collectors.
If you are being contacted by a debt collector or need help rebuilding your credit, The Phenix Group is here to help. We can help you fix your credit scores and achieve financial security through our attorney-engaged credit repair process. Get in touch with us today at (972) 630-6112 for a free consultation!