Debt collectors can be annoying and aggressive, and can quickly induce stress. As soon as the phone rings with another collection call, or you open yet another collection letter, your stomach knots and you feel instantly overwhelmed. If you could make all of your debt payments, you would. We know that.
To help you avoid more stress, here are some tips for dealing with debt collectors.
Know your rights
Debt collectors are precluded from doing certain things under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). And you have rights under the FDCPA. Know your rights so you can exercise them and advocate for yourself. The FDCPA applies to third-party debt collectors who are attempting to collect debts on behalf of someone else but does not apply to original lenders.
- A debt collector may not harass, oppress, threaten, or abuse you. 15 U.S. Code § 1692d.
- A debt collector may not call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., local time where you’re located. 15 U.S. Code § 1692c.
- A debt collector may not use false, deceptive, or make misleading representations in connection to collecting on a debt. 15 U.S. Code § 1692e.
- A debt collector cannot threaten you with arrest or imprisonment.
- A debt collector cannot threaten to take any collection action, such as filing a lawsuit or wage garnishment, unless the action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to actually take such action.
If a debt collector violates the law, we encourage you to report their illegal actions to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state attorney general’s office.
Dispute the debt
The FDCPA allows you to send written requests for verification of debt within 30 days of being contacted by a debt collector. The debt collector is required to cease collection activity until it obtains verification of the debt or a copy of the court judgment and sends a copy of the verification or judgment to you, the consumer. 15 U.S. Code § 1692(g).
Stop collection phone calls
Did you know you have the legal right to put an end to collection phone calls? Under the FDCPA once you notify a collection agency in writing that you do not want to receive phone calls, they cannot legally continue to call you except under specific and limited circumstances.
Send the debt collector a letter telling them to stop calling you. If they continue to call they are in violation of the FDCPA.
Face your debt problem head-on
Stopping collection phone calls or otherwise staving off a debt collector will not address your underlying debt problem. Debt problems when ignored only get worse.
We encourage you to explore your debt relief options, such as paying off your debt, debt settlement, debt consolidation, and bankruptcy. Keep in mind that a true debt relief solution addresses your entire debt problem, not just a portion of it.
Bankruptcy stops debt collectors in their tracks
When you file for bankruptcy, all collection action against you must stop. It is illegal for creditors to attempt to collect from you after you’ve filed for bankruptcy protection.
Free Bankruptcy Consultation
Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, we offer free consultations so that you can understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with affect you and your family. We take the time to explain the bankruptcy process to our clients. We invite you to get to know us here and read about the clients we’ve helped here.
Find out more about being debt free in our guide: All About Debt Relief
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.