Many debt collection agencies are professional organizations that work as a third party resource for businesses who need to recover losses from delinquent accounts. These agencies follow rules and guidelines throughout their collection efforts, but there are other entities that don’t.
Because some collection agencies have been guilty of harassing customers, trying to collect on ineligible accounts, and other fraudulent or aggressive practices, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was created as a means of protecting consumers from these practices. Debtor’s rights are laid out in this legislation and include:
Collecting Within Boundaries: Debt collectors must adhere to the parameters set out by the FDCP Act when trying to collect on a debt. This means that accounts that have been inactive for 7 years or more are not eligible for credit reporting, and agencies can’t try to collect more than is owed from a debtor.
Limited Calls: The FDCP Act protects debtors against harassment, and this includes a collection agency calling them multiple times a day, at any hour. Collectors are only allowed to make calls between the hours of 9 am and 8 pm. They are also not allowed to call you at work if you’ve asked them not to do so. In addition, they are not allowed to contact you numerous times a day.
Respect Privacy: Although debt collectors are permitted to contact your friends and family members to try and determine your contact information, they are not allowed to share any information regarding your account, or even the fact that you owe money, with anyone besides yourself or your attorney.
No Threats or Verbal Abuse: Debt collectors are expected to behave professionally and are not allowed to use profanity, yell, or verbally abuse you in any way. In addition, they are not supposed to allude that you’ve committed a crime by having a delinquent account, or tell you you can be arrested for this. They can notify you of their intentions to file a lawsuit, but only if this information is accurate.