Do you feel like every time you turn around, your home phone, cell phone or work phone rings and people claiming to be collection agents are telling you to send them money? Whether or not you believe you owe a creditor money, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the calls you receive are legitimate.
First, there are a lot of scammers out there who use sneaky and manipulative tactics to fool people into thinking they are authentic agencies that have the right to call you to collect a debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you against creditor harassment. Facing financial problems is stressful enough without worrying about having to deal with angry phone calls every day.
Hours of operation and other regulations
The following list includes information to help you recognize when collection agencies are stepping over the boundaries of fair practice according to the law:
- Are they calling you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.? If so, they may be violating the FDCPA.
- Collectors can’t call you at work if you or your employer has told them not to do so.
- You can write a letter to request that a debt collector stop contacting you. Unless the debt collector is informing you of a pending lawsuit or calling to assure you the calls will cease from that point on, any future calls may violate the FDCPA.
- Business debts are not included in FDCPA protection.
- Debt collectors are not free to threaten you. They must inform you how much money you owe, to whom you owe it and the steps you should take if you believe the collection attempt is in error.
You may be one of many people in Wisconsin and other states who have answered phone calls only to hear profanity, shouting or other verbally aggressive behavior by supposed debt collectors on the other end of the line. You don’t have to put up with that.
What you can do
It is critical that you understand your rights and know where to seek support to help you protect them. Empty lawsuit threats, trying to scare you into thinking you’ll face criminal arrest or otherwise misrepresenting the truth are serious offenses that can lead to criminal charges. By immediately reporting unfair collections practices, you can seek justice and possibly prevent similar harassment from occurring against others in the future.