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Fair Debt Collection Practices – Know Your Law

Fair debt collection practices are regulated by both state and federal law. When debt collectors break the rules, you have recourse.
Debt Collectors Can Be Scary

Bills are past due. The lenders are calling and still you are unable to pay. Finally, the lenders have turned your debt over to collection agencies, third parties who pursue you until payments are made. For this pursuit, the collection agencies receive a percentage of what you have paid. At first it was just the lenders themselves calling you. Now some companies of whom you’ve never heard are on the phone daily. And they do not stop calling no matter how many times you tell them you do not have the money to make payment yet. They may even make veiled threats about garnishing your wages, initiating a lawsuit against you, etc.

Debt collection practices have actually been the subject of much congressional debate in recent years, and there are  both state and federal laws regulating their procedures. If you think a debt collector is in violation of any of these laws, you have the right to file complaints with both your state and federal Attorney General’s offices.

If you are on a debt consolidation plan, the debt consolidation company can help stop these calls as well.

What Debt Collectors Cannot Do
It is important to know the boundaries that have been set by law for debt collection practices, as follows:
  1. A debt collector may not call you by telephone before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
  2. A debt collector cannot use foul or insulting language
  3. A debt collector cannot call you at work once your have requested that he not do this
  4. A debt collector cannot threaten violence or a lawsuit if the original lender does not intend to sue.
  5. A debt collector cannot continue to call you without sending written notification of the original creditor, and the amount owed, and your method of dispute if you disagree.
  6. A debt collector may not contact family members, your boss or others about your debt, other than for purposes of locating you.
  7. If you have notified a debt collector in writing that he/she is not to call you but to communicate only through writing, the collector must follow that request.
What You Can Do If You are a Victim of Unfair Debt Collection
If you believe any of the above rules have been violated, you have recourse. The first step is to contact your state’s attorney general’s office. Every state has the right to enforce federal laws regarding debt collection, as well as laws specific to that state. It will be important that you have as much proof as possible, so attempt to get everything in writing and, as well, have a method for recording any telephone conversations which may violate the law. If you write to a debt collector, keep a copy of the correspondence and be certain to send it certified mail with return receipt requested. If you fax information, be certain that you have a confirmation that they fax was indeed delivered. At all times, be certain to write down the names of anyone who calls you. You will need this information if you eventually have to file a complaint or a lawsuit.
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