There’s a reason that debt collectors have such a bad reputation—they are aggressive and often blatantly disregard the law in their attempts to get a payment from a debtor. Even worse, most consumers do not know their rights or are too ashamed of their financial situation to advocate for themselves. Even if you are behind on payments, you do not deserve to have your rights ignored. If a debt collector tries these practices, they could be in violation of state or federal law. Companies that break debt collection laws may have to pay the victim a fine for each and every violation.
1. Calling After Being Asked to Stop
If you do not wish to receive calls anymore, you can request that all communication regarding your debt be done in writing. You should make this request in writing and send it via certified mail. If the collector continues to call after receiving this letter, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
2. Calling an Unreasonable Amount of Times or at Unreasonable Hours
While the law doesn’t say how many calls are allowed in a 24-hour period, it does say that collectors can’t call too frequently or place an unreasonable amount of calls. Furthermore, they cannot call before 8 A.M. or 9 P.M. The exception to this rule: they may call you outside these hours if you make arrangements with them to discuss your debt outside this time frame.
3. Threatening Legal Action Without the Right to Do So
In order to scare debtors into payment, collectors may threaten legal action, even if they are not authorized to do so by their employer or if they have no intention of actually filing a lawsuit. This is illegal.
4. Threatening You With Arrest
Debtors’ prisons no longer exist, and you can’t go to jail simply for failing to pay a debt.
5. Telling Third Parties About Your Debt
To shame debtors into a payment, collectors may claim that they’ll tell employers, family members, or friends about the debt. Collectors can call third parties to locate you, but they cannot tell any third party, except your attorney, about the debt you owe.
6. Pretending to Be a Government Agent or Lawyer
Companies often use misleading names or titles to trick individuals into believing that they are a government agency or a law firm. This is another violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
7. Collecting Illegal Fees or Penalties
The agreement you have with your creditor may allow them to add penalties or fees if you do not pay. Collection agencies cannot add on additional fees that fall outside your agreement or contract.
Do not let debt collectors violate your rights. If they break state or federal law, they may be charged fines for each and every violation. If you’ve been the victim of an illegal debt collection practice, call Blossom Law at (704) 271-9078 to explore your legal options.
- Related Reading: What You Need to Know About the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act