If you’ve ever been harassed by a collection agency, you know it isn’t pleasant. Dealing with a collection agent can be a miserable experience and it can feel like there is nothing you can do about it. Fortunately, there are federal laws that prevent collection agencies from several types of collection agency harassment. It’s called the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act and it states specifically what collection agencies can and cannot do when attempting to collect a debt.
Collection agents can only call you between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm. If you tell them you don’t want them to call you any more, they must cease and contact you only via mail in the future. Collection agents cannot call you at work if you notify them that your employer doesn’t allow it. They also cannot tell your employer they are a debt collection agency or that they are contacting you to collect a debt. After a collection agent makes an initial phone call to you about your debt, they need to verify it in writing within five days. Once you receive that letter, you have 30 days to demand verification of the debt. If you do request verification, the agency cannot call you again until they have provided that documentation.
Collection agency do not have the right to call you continuously in order to harass you into payment. They cannot use profane or obscene language when they speak to you. They don’t have the right to insult you or anyone else. They can’t threaten to take you to court, sue you, damage your credit rating or garnish your wages – unless they actually intend to do so.
Collection agencies can contact third-parties to try and locate you, but they cannot share any other information with them- and they cannot call third parties repeatedly. Under no circumstances can they tell the third parties that you owe money or how much money you owe.
Moreover, some illegal practices include unnecessary collection of fees, such as interest fees, surcharges or more, which is illegal unless it is authorized by the agreement between the creditor and the debtor. If you are being asked to pay anything different than the amount you and the creditor have agreed upon, you may be dealing with a debt collection agency that is acting illegally. If these situations are happening to you, how can you stop it?
Stop collection agency harassment by acting immediately. If a collector calls you and tries to collect the debt via phone, do not avoid answering the questions. Instead, answer the phone and tell the agency that you are recording your conversation. Do not offer information regarding your current finances, but do ask for some time to pay off your debts. If that does not stop the collectors from calling, or if you feel that they are acting illegally, you can and should acquire legal advice from attorney’s offices in your state to deal with the collection agency.