Complaints about debt collectors are on the rise throughout the country. It’s not uncommon for a consumer to feel they’ve been harassed by creditors and debt collectors. There are some basic rights that all consumers have when dealing with a debt collector. Here are some of these basic rights:
- A debt collector can’t call you at inconvenient times or places unless you agree to the calls. They also can’t contact you at work if you’ve told them either orally or in writing not to.
- If you don’t want a debt collector to contact you anymore you can tell them to stop but you need to do it in writing. Send a letter by certified mail saying you don’t want to be contacted again. The debt collector can still contact you after that only to say that they will be taking some specific action, like filing a lawsuit. This letter won’t prevent the debt collector from filing a lawsuit or make the debt go away.
- Debt collectors can’t tell you that you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay and they can’t say your property or wages will be seized or garnished if they don’t intend to actually do so.
- Debt collectors can’t contact you by a postcard and they can’t send any document that looks like a court document or is from a government agency if it really isn’t.
- A debt collector can’t contact a third party except for the limited purpose of finding out your address, your home phone number and where you work. If the debt collector already knows this information then they shouldn’t contact anyone other than you or your spouse. The debt collector can’t contact a third party to get this limited information more than once.
- Debt collectors are required to send you a written notice within five days of their first contact with you notifying you of your right to request validation of the debt. That request for validation has to be sent within 30 days of your receipt of the letter. The debt collector can’t contact you again until after that validation has been provided to you.
- Debt collectors can’t call you repeatedly to annoy you or use obscene language.
- Debt collectors can’t falsely claim you’ve committed a crime or falsely claim they are with law enforcement.
If a debt collector has violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, any lawsuit brought against them for these violations has to be brought within one year of the violation. So if you’re being harassed by a debt collector, don’t wait to contact us about it. Contact Thompson Law Office or call 515-875-4850.