In the words of “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, “The bill collectors, they ring my phone and scare my wife when I’m not home.” Few things can be more frightening and nerve-wracking than the attention of a debt collector. If a bill collector is ringing your phone, it is important to know your rights and what you can do.
Know Your Rights!
Thankfully, there are limits to what a debt collector can do. Under the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act, a debt collector cannot do anything abusive, unfair, or deceptive to collect the debt. Here is what that means…
- No Early or Late Calls – A debt collector has to respect your schedule and call you at a reasonable time. According to the law, they cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm unless you request it.
- Debts Must Be Verified – Before a bill collector makes repeated calls, the debt must be verified and sent to you in writing. Once this is done, calls can be renewed.
- You Need A Written Notice – A debt collector is required to send a written notice with how much you owe five days after the initial contact. The notice must also tell you what to do if you believe you do not owe the money.
- Must Honor Your Request For No Contact – If you send a letter asking for no further contact, the debt collector must abide by your request. Be aware that the debt does not go away, and the debt collector or the original creditor could file a lawsuit against you.
- No Verbal Abuse, Dire Threats, or Repeated Calls – The bill collector cannot use profane language, threaten to have you arrested, or harass you with multiple calls.
- The Numbers Must Be Accurate – The bill collector cannot ask for a sum of money larger than what you actually owe.
- The Debt Collector Cannot Tell Your Family and Friends About It – The bill collector can only contact people you know in order to find out your address, phone number, or where you work.
We hope this information helps you if you ever have any issues with a debt collector. Thanks for reading!