Understanding Your Rights: What Debt Collectors Cannot Do

You owe some money, and a bunch of debt collectors know it. Your cell phone buzzes with annoying–and sometimes abrasive–callers, asking questions about your financial circumstances and suggesting that your credit history, wages, and job are at risk if you don’t pay them right now.

Thankfully, much of this behavior on the part of debt collectors isn’t acceptable; it isn’t even legal. As a consumer with debt, your rights are protected under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which shields you from debt collectors using “abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.” Read on to educate yourself about how far debt collectors are allowed to go in order to get you to pay (and it’s probably not as far as you’d think).

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prevents debt collectors from:

  • Calling you before 8 am or after 9 pm;
  • Lying about any part of your situation;
  • Calling you at work if your employer doesn’t allow it (and you have informed them of this fact);
  • Calling you when you’ve asked them not to (the key is to notify them in writing);
  • Impersonating a lawyer or government agency;
  • Using the phone to annoy you;
  • Threatening jail;
  • Withholding or misrepresenting information; or
  • Contacting you after you’ve been represented by a lawyer.

For the full list of rules governing debt collectors’ behavior, click here.

If a debt collector has reached out to you in a way that’s in violation of the FDCPA, know that you can report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also file a lawsuit against the debt collector and recover monetary damages for each violation of that law.  And if a debt collector is making unsubstantiated claims about the amount you owe, ask for that information to be sent to you in writing rather than pursuing the conversation over the phone.

But understand that asking a debt collector to cease contact doesn’t make your debt disappear. Badgley Law Group advises you to seek an attorney’s advice to settle your debts so that you can move forward into a healthy financial future.

Hounded by debt collection agencies? We can help. Contact Orlando attorney Jeff Badgley at 866-977-1544 for a free consultation today.

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