Knowing the Laws

It can be a nightmare seeing the 1-800 number calling you yet again.  Debt collectors are persistent and often relentless. You may receive as many as ten calls in one day. They may try to find your work number, your friends’ numbers and even take you to court. But knowing your rights and the laws surrounding debt collection will give you a heads up when dealing with collectors. The Federal Trade Commission or FTC has set up a number of laws that govern how and how not a debt collector may act.

For example, a debt collector may not call you before 8 am or after 9 pm. They may not contact you at work if your employer deems it inappropriate. Of course, if a debt collector is trying to contact you its always best to pick up and try to reach a resolution that works for both parties.  While the nightmare stories are abound, many debt collectors can be reasoned with and repayment plans can be signed. After all, they would rather get some money from you than none at all.

A debt collector can only contact third parties to ascertain your location and may not do so more than once.  If you have an attorney, debt collectors must contact your attorney and not you directly.  Additionally, a debt collector must provide written validation of the debt that they are trying to collect on.  If they cannot provide validation, it is not a legal debt that they can attempt to collect on.  If you receive a validation notice that does not appear accurate to you, you can send the collector a notice informing them that you do not owe them any money. At that point, the collector may no longer attempt to contact you.

Be sure to be on the look out for false statement and implied threats. Both are illegal for debt collectors. They may not threaten you with harm and may not even annoy you with phone calls if you demand they stop.  Debt collectors may also not make false claims and they are not allowed to claim that they will seize or garnish your wages.

Knowing these rules will help you be prepared for dealing with debt collectors. Always remember that the laws are in place to protect you and that by knowing them, you can keep your debt collectors in check.