Tough financial circumstances can cause some people to fall behind on certain payments. When this happens, debt collectors often start calling. While their tactics to get payments from debtors are limited under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, some may not know what rights they have when dealing with these agencies.
Illegal debt collection practices
These practices can violate consumer rights:
- Show up at one’s workplace: Debt collectors can’t show up at one’s place of work to ask them for payments. That’s because it’s illegal to publicize someone’s debt. However, they are allowed to call a debtor’s place of work.
- Be emotionally or physically abusive: No matter the debtor’s circumstances, collectors are not allowed to use offensive language or threaten consumers with violence or incarceration for unpaid debts.
- Pursue debtors for payments they don’t owe: In some cases, debt collectors have incomplete or inaccurate information. Unfortunately, these misunderstandings can cause them to go after the wrong person or go after someone who already paid what they owe. Those who were contacted by collectors in these instances may want to go back and check their credit report.
- Call whenever they please: Debt collectors are only allowed to call during certain hours of the day. By law, the only times they are permitted to contact debtors is between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.. Collectors do have to cease contact if the debtor writes a letter asking them to stop. However, if the consumer still has unpaid debt, this may cause the collection agency to file a lawsuit against them.
Consumers should know their rights
No matter their financial circumstances, consumers with debts will have to find ways to pay them off. However, no one should be subject to a debt collector’s abusive behavior. Those who have fallen victim to such mistreatment may want to call a diligent and compassionate bankruptcy attorney. They can help their clients understand their rights and establish a payment plan that works best for their financial situation.