For people in Tyler, overwhelming debt and the fear of financial ruin is just a small part of the stress that accompanies debt problems. In addition to wondering what will happen, the constant harassment from creditors with phone calls, emails and letters regarding the overdue payments can be even more worrying. In recent years, steps have been taken to better protect consumers from these practices used by collection agencies. One way is through the Fair Debt Collection Act.
While there are many different aspects to this law, the one that hits home for a large number of consumers seeking creditor protection is what the debt collectors are no longer allowed to do. They cannot do the following: threaten with violence or harm; publish the names of those who have not paid their debts; use obscenities or profanity; continually contact a person by phone in an attempt to collect the debt. These acts are considered harassment.
The creditor is not allowed to make false statements including: saying they are lawyers or from the government; asserting that the debtor has committed a crime; saying they work for a credit reporting organization; failing to give an accurate amount as to what is owed; stating that papers sent were legal forms if they’re not; and saying that the papers are not legal forms if they are. They cannot say that a person is subject to arrest for not paying, that there can be seizures or wage garnishments unless the law allows them to take that action, or that legal action will be taken if such an act is illegal.
Debt collectors are also not allowed to give a debtor’s credit information to anyone, and they cannot send documents that look as if they are official from a court or government if they are not. In addition, the FDCA prohibits collectors from using a company name that is false, and they cannot collect interest or fees on top of what is owed unless the contract allows it.
A creditor’s rights are important regardless of the financial situation. Even though the FDCA is in place to provide protections, the collection companies will often try to skirt around the law or use trickery to collect debts. Those who believe they have been subjected to this kind of treatment need to protect themselves with help from an experienced attorney.
Source: FTC.gov, “Debt Collection,” accessed on Oct. 13, 2015