If you are having financial troubles and are being hounded by collection agencies, here are a few things you should know when dealing with these types of companies.
- The debt collectors cannot call you at all hours of the day or night. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act puts restrictions on the times the debt collectors can call. Typically, calls, before 8 am and after 9 pm, are not reasonable unless they have permission from the debtor. The FDCPA only applies to collection agencies, attorneys that primarily are debt collectors, and companies that purchase consumer debt. The FDCPA does not apply to collectors who work directly for the creditor in the collection department.
- You are not required by law to talk to the debt collector. Communication may help handle the situation but it is not legally required. You can write the debt collector asking them to cease all communication and they must do so upon receipt of your written request. From that point on the only time a debt collector may contact you is to tell you that there will be no more contact or to tell you that the creditor or collector will be pursuing legal action against you.
- Collection agencies are allowed to charge interest to your original debt if the original agreement permits the agency to charge interest during the collection timeframe or if allowed by your state. The FDCPA does not disallow accumulating interest to the original amount owed. The total interest the collection agency can charge is state-regulated.
If you are being harassed by debt collectors and are unsure of your rights, contact an attorney, like a debt collection lawyer in Clearwater, FL, who can answer your questions and advise you of your rights and how to proceed.
The FDCPA regulates what the collection agency can and cannot do to try to collect the debt.
- A collection agency employee cannot threaten violence, use profanity or call you repeatedly. This is considered harassment.
- A debt collector cannot give you false information concerning the debt you owe. They cannot tell you they work for a credit score agency or tell you they are from the IRS or other government agencies.
- You cannot be told by a debt collector that you will be put under arrest for not settling your debs. They cannot tell you they will garnish your wages or repossess their property unless the law permits and the debt collector has a court judgment once a lawsuit is filed against you. If you do have a judgment, the debt collector can take these measures to collect the money owed:
- Garnish up to twenty-five percent of your net pay
- Take money owed from your bank account
- File a lien against your property
Know the laws in your states. If you do not have any assets when the judgment is filed against you, the debt collector can continue to attempt to get money from you for up to twenty years.
Contact An Attorney
If you feel like you’re drowning in debt and are being harassed by debt collectors, and don’t know where to turn, contact an attorney today. You have rights and the debt collectors are required to act within the law. An attorney can work with you to make sure your rights are protected and discuss what legal options are available to you.
Thank you to the experts at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their input and expertise in debt law.