Collection calls can become unruly and unprofessional but they do not have to. Most calls that entail such are usually in violation of your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. What you don’t know can hurt you. Take an accounting of these common unlawful tactics that are in direct violation of your consumer rights under the FDCPA.
1. Ask you to pay more than you owe
The collector cannot misrepresent the amount you owe.
2. Ask you to pay interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law
The collector can’t add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn’t allow.
3. Call repeatedly or continuously
The FDCPA considers repeat calls as harassment.
4. Use obscene, profane, or abusive language
Using this kind of language is considered harassment.
5. Call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm
Calls during these times are considered harassment.
6. Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient
Calls at these times are considered harassment.
7. Use or threaten to use violence if you don’t pay the debt
Collectors can’t threaten violence against you.
8. Threaten action they cannot or will not take
Collectors can’t threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when the collector cannot or does not intend to take the action.
9. Illegally inform a third party about your alleged debt
Unless you have expressly given permission, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about your debt except: Your attorney |The creditor | The creditor’s attorney |A credit reporting agency your | spouse | Your parent (if you are a minor)
10. Contact you at work knowing your employer doesn’t approve
A collector is not allowed to contact you at work if you’ve let them know your employer doesn’t approve of these calls.
11. Fail to send a written debt validation notice
Within five days of the collector’s initial communication, it must send you a notice include the amount of the debt, name of the creditor, and notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.
12. Ignore your written request to verify the debt and continue to collect
A collector can’t continue to collect on a debt after you’ve made a written request to verify the debt as long as the request was made within 30 days of the collector’s written notice.
13. Continue to collect on the debt before providing verification
After receiving your written dispute, the collector must stop collecting on the debt until you have received verification.
14. Continue collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice
If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication, it can only contact you one more time, via mail to let you know one of the following: that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated, that certain actions may be taken by the collector, or that the collector is definitely going to take certain actions.
Repeated violations should be recorded and reported immediately. If you feel you have been a victim of collection harassment call a certified credit counselor for a free financial counseling session and see what options are available for you. You have rights and there are nonprofits out there who will work for you to eliminate collection calls and unscrupulous finance charges and fees.