If you have not made payments on a loan for a period of several months, a creditor may decide that there is no hope of getting their money back. At that point, they will likely sell the debt to a collection agency. While the new owner of the debt has a right to collect it if possible, there are limits to what they can do to accomplish that goal.
They Can’t Harass or Abuse You
A debt collector is not allowed to use any language that could be considered abusive or intimidating. Furthermore, debt collectors are not allowed to imply or directly state that they are going to take legal action if they don’t intend to actually do so. They are also not allowed to threaten to call the police as a means of collecting a balance that you owe. Finally, you cannot be contacted before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. unless you give permission to do so.
Be Sure to Verify That the Debt Is Legitimate
You have the right to verify that the debt in question belongs to you. There have been many stories of debt collection companies calling an individual because he or she has the same name as the person who is liable for an outstanding loan balance. Whoever is pursuing a debt balance must provide written verification of the amount owed and the creditor that originally held the debt.
You Can Ask Debt Collectors to Stop Calling You
Upon request, a debt collector must immediately cease phone contact with a debtor. However, it is important for you to know that making such a request could result in a lawsuit. Debt collection companies have the right to send a letter acknowledging the request or to inform you of a planned lawsuit.
If you file for bankruptcy, all creditors must stop contacting you by phone or through the mail. This generally applies to debt collection agencies or others who have purchased a balance that you may owe. If you are contacted after filing for bankruptcy, it may be possible to seek financial compensation.
Your state may impose statutes of limitation on credit card, medical and other types of debt. Once the statute of limitation expires, you are no longer required to make payments even if the debt is legitimate. However, if you agree to make a partial payment, the payment clock either starts again or is extended from the day that you agreed to do so.
Debt Collectors Generally Cannot Contact Friends or Colleagues
Debt collection agencies are typically limited to contacting you or your spouse about an outstanding balance owed. This means that they are generally not allowed to contact your best friend, parents or your boss regarding the matter. Furthermore, anyone contacting you about a debt may be barred from calling you at work or any other number that you deem off-limits.
If you have been contacted by a debt collector, it is important that you understand your rights. If necessary, you can contact a lawyer or a watchdog group such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
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The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel helps people get out of debt. We offer free consultations to people of Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Richmond Hill, Hinesville, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Tybee Island, Clyo, Ellabel, Midway, Ludowici, Springfield, Pembroke, Brooklet, and Garden City.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.