Recently I have heard more complaints from clients about illegal debt collection activities. Last week a client told me that a collection agent called his employer to inform him that his employee is a deadbeat. This type of harassment is illegal. Debt collectors are limited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in how they can go about contacting debtors to collect debt and what they are allowed to say to them. Unfortunately, many debt collectors are either ignoring the laws governing their activities or simply don’t care. Here are some of the things debtors should watch for when dealing with creditor agencies:
• Attempt to collect more debt than is owed
• Use profanity, harassment, or abusive language when speaking with you
• Creditors are not allowed to contact you before 8:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m.
• Refuse to give you proof of your debt
• Repeatedly contact third parties and inform them about the debt you owe
If they are doing any of the activities in the above list, contact an attorney immediately. If you are being harassed by a creditor or debt collector, write down the name of the person who contacted you, the creditor they work for, the date and time they called, and what they said. It is essential that you document each offense so that if the matter ends up being resolved in court your attorney will have as much information as possible to support your position. The more information you can gather the better.