Debt Collector Harassment and Knowing Your Rights

Debt Collector Harassment and Knowing Your Rights

A debt collector has a job to do just like everyone else. Their job is to hunt you down, harass you, and squeeze every penny they can get out of you. However, there are guidelines put in place for them to follow as a part of their pursuit.

If you are the target of a debt collector, you should know your rights. Many debt collectors walk a fine line following a code of behavior as they attempt to collect a debt from you. The following suggests what you should know to better protect yourself.

Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector CANNOT:

– Contact you at your place of work

– Contact you by phone after you have sent a written letter to them and request that they stop

– Contact you earlier than 8 a.m. or later than 8 p.m. based on your time zone

– Express to others that you owe a debt – such as your family, friends, or your boss

– Converse with anyone but you when they call (not your children or other family members)

– Threaten to have your wages garnished

– Threaten to sue you (debt collectors do not have the legality to sue you, only creditors)

– Threaten to have you arrested

– Send you unofficial papers that appear to be legal court papers

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was established in 1977 when Congress realized debt collectors were exercising deceptive, abusive and unfair debt collection methods. Unfortunately, a number of divorces, volatile marriages, job losses and personal bankruptcies were and still are a result of obnoxious and unethical debt collecting procedures.

Although the purpose and intention of the act was noble, the term “abusive” is in the eye of the beholder. There is a gray area when it comes to the definition of abuse. Swearing, yelling and calling to harass you are considered abuse. Keep in mind that when a debt collector pushes you, you have the right to push back. Tolerating their nonsense and drivel is not a requirement.

Debt collectors are trained to be belligerent, aggressive, rude and dishonest. Their job demands it. In some sense, you should not take their aggressiveness personally. However, the more you know how they work and arm yourself with knowledge; it will be easier for you to exercise your rights.

The most important lesson here to learn is that it is not necessary for you to speak with a debt collector until you feel you are ready to do so. You are not obligated to return their phone calls and you have the right to hang up on them. They want you to feel threatened and powerless so that they can produce results; it is their job. You have a job too – to protect yourself.

John Blakemore has been giving solid financial advice for over 15 years. He is an expert in assisting people reach their debt free goals and offers advice on dealing with debt collectors. Visit John at How to Get Out of Debt Quickly to discover the quickest ways to return to a lifestyle of financial freedom.

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