If you have outstanding debts you cannot pay, you may feel nervous every time your phone rings. While it may be in your financial and legal interests to explore bankruptcy or other options, you do not have to put up with harassment from debt collectors. That is, even though they have a job to do, debt collectors do not have a right to harass you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that protects consumers. If debt collectors violate this law, you have legal remedies against them. Among other things, the FDCPA puts the following limitations on debt collectors.
Debt collectors must call at a reasonable time
You do not have to put up with middle-of-the-night phone calls from collections agencies. On the contrary, collections calls may only occur between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. If a collector calls outside this window without your consent, he or she is likely violating the FDCPA.
You can stop collections calls to your work
Millions of Americans experience financial difficulties every year. Still, if you cannot pay your bills, you may not want your employer to know. While debt collectors may call your place of employment, you can make them stop. If either you or your employer requests an end to the calls, debt collectors must honor the request.
You do not have to listen to threats
Debt collectors often use a variety of tactics to obtain payment. They may not, however, threaten you or your family members. Rather, they should stick to a script that includes the following information:
- The amount you owe
- The procedure for paying your balance
- The procedure for disputing the debt
Even though you likely have legal alternatives for resolving your debt, you may be able to boost your quality of life by keeping debt collectors in check. After all, experiencing financial hardship is difficult enough without having to worry about harassment from debt collectors.