What You Need to Know About Debt Collectors
By Linda Jacob, AFC®, CFP®
If you are being contacted by debt collectors for past due loans, it’s important to know what they can and can not do. The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This act makes it illegal for debt collectors to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices when they collect debts. This is for personal debt. Business debt is not covered.
Debt collectors are only allowed to contact you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., your time. They are allowed to call you, send letters, emails or text messages.
Debt Collectors are not allowed to threaten you, use profane language, or repeatedly use the phone to annoy you. They also can not lie. They can’t misrepresent the amount you owe, or pretend to be an attorney or a government representative. They are not allowed to falsely claim that you will be arrested or legal action taken if it’s not true.
If you are experiencing any of these actions, you should report your problem to your state attorney general office, the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many states have their own laws, so you will want to contact your attorney general’s office first to make sure you are clear about your rights.
If your debt is becoming overwhelming, call our office to see if we can help. Our debt management program may be able to get the payment lowered, the interest lowered, and the calls to stop.