If you owe creditors, then it is legal for debt collectors to try to collect the money that you owe. It is not, however, legal for them to harass you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) governs how third-party debt collection agencies must behave.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot:
- Call at unreasonable hours. This means that they must call between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm local time.
- Make repeated calls with the intent to annoy or harass.
- Use profane language, threaten arrest or ask for unfounded money amounts.
- Call the consumer at his workplace.
- Talk to anyone other than the consumer’s spouse of lawyer about the debt.
- Make phone calls once the consumer has sent written notice that he will not pay the money owed or that he wants to end communications.
- Call the consumer once he has retained an attorney. At that point, the debt collection agency must direct all communication to the lawyer.
- Call the consumer once he has filed for bankruptcy.
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors must:
- Identify themselves in every conversation and let the consumer know that he is talking with a debt collection agency that will use any information gained through the conversation to collect the money owed.
- Let the consumer know that he has the right to contest the debt and make this clear within five days of first contacting the consumer.
- Tell the consumer the name of the original creditor.
- Provide verification of the debt if the consumer requests it within 30 days after first being told that he has the right to contest the debt.
- File any lawsuit in the jurisdiction where the consumer resides.
This is how the FDCPA protects you from debt collection harassment. If you think an agency is harassing you, then document the behavior and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
If you need to talk to a Twin Cities bankruptcy attorney, then contact us. Our skilled, professional staff is standing by to assist and looks forward to talking with you.