Dealing with financial trouble is stressful enough. But when a debt collector is hounding you using unscrupulous methods, it can make matters even worse.
The fact is, you have some rights when it comes to dealing with debt collection agencies. They’re spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which protects consumers from abusive, harassing or unfair debt collection practices, and is enforced by the FTC. Here’s the abbreviated version of the key provisions:
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are not permitted to:
- call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- contact you at work if you’ve told them verbally or in writing that your employer doesn’t allow you to get such calls in the workplace
- contact a third party about you for any reason other than getting your contact information; simply put, they may not tell anyone that you owe money
- harass or abuse you or anyone else they contact about you
- lie about the amount you owe
- use deceptive methods to collect a debt from you. For example, they may not:
- falsely claim to be law enforcement officers
- claim that you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay your debt
- threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or your wages — unless they are permitted by law to do it and intend to do so
- give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company
- use a fake company name
Learn more about your rights when it comes to debt collectors — and how you can regain control of your finances.