The FDCPA & Your Rights

If you legally owe money on a mortgage, on credit cards, or to your bank, you are legally defined as a debtor. Far from atypical, in the current credit society, almost everyone has some kind debt and is making monthly payments on their car, their home, or even on their furniture or vacation. Generally speaking, credit is a good thing. Some say it is the engine of our economy, which is fine until it gets a little tight and one falls behind in making their payments. This is when the debt collector may come calling. Debt collectors can be professional attorneys in the field of debt collection, a company registered to operate debt collection or an individual.

If You Are Contacted By a Debt Collection Agency

A call from the debt collector is not pleasant, and it is not an experience worth remembering. It may bring about considerable stress and sadness. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can assist immensely and can go great lengths to help you achieve peace of mind in your situation. All household debt is regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including family and personal debt.

Under the aforementioned law, any debt collector or agency is required to mail a letter of notification at least five days after contacting a debtor about a collection matter. The notification must spell out exactly how much the debt collector is claiming the debtor owes and who the creditor is that is making the claim. There also must be instructions specifically guiding the creditor on the actions to be taken if the debtor declares and refutes the claim that the money is not owed.

In the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is dictated that a replying letter is received by the collector within thirty days of the debtor’s receipt of the notification of collection stating the money quoted in the notice is not owed by the said debtor and that he must not be contacted by the debt collector under a binding law agreement again. Collection proceedings may however begin again if the debtor unquestionably owes the disputed amount through evidence from the debt collector. This evidence or proof may be a statement or an invoice directed to the debtor affirming the owed amount.

Harassment Is Not Allowed

Debt collector harassment can be put to a halt permanently by putting into action the rights afforded in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt collectors or debt collection agencies often contact debtors over the phone, in person, or by fax or email. The legality of contacting debtors through phone has to do with the time of day debt collectors are restricted to when making collection calls. Unless debt collectors are specifically granted permission by the debtor to call outside 8AM-9PM, they can make collection calls only between these hours. Also, collection calls cannot be made to a debtor’s place of employment. A debtor has the right to send a letter to the debt collection agency demanding that all collection calls stop. Once the debt collector receives the letter, the only option available to the collector is to reply informing the debtor of the collector’s next action to be taken, such as filing a claim in court.