Back in the 90’s I worked for a bank collecting on past due credit card accounts. Although we were doing collections, our department was not called Collections. We were called Customer Assistance. This distinction spoke to the banks philosophy about how people should be treated. If you treat people with dignity and respect and sympathize with their situation, they are more likely pay you than the other creditors they owe money.
Then there are those debt collectors who will push the limits and use abusive tactics to collect on past due accounts. Owing a debt is stressful enough without someone harassing you to pay up. Debt collectors make money when they get you to pay. So, how far can they go to collect? Is it ok for them to call your neighbors, your relatives or even your boss? Can they knock on your door in the middle of the night? What are the limits to what a debt collector can do to get you to pay a debt?
Abusive and harassing conduct by debt collectors is prohibited by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is a federal law that protects consumers from the abuses of debt collectors. Some actions that violate the FDCPA are:
Although that was not an exhaustive list, it shows you some of the more common things that debt collectors may do that are prohibited. But what do you do if they violate the law anyway in an attempt to collect from you? You should document every instance when you believe a debt collector has done something in violation of the law. You can then contact an attorney in your state and discuss your options, including possibly filing a lawsuit seeking money damages. Most attorneys will offer a free consultation to discuss the merits of your case. That is why it is important to have a record of what a debt collector has done and how it was done.
Do not let debt collectors intimidate you. Simply owing a debt is not a crime and you should not be abused or harassed in any way. It is important to understand what your rights are when dealing with debt collectors. By knowing your rights, it gives you the confidence you will need to deal with debt collectors in the future should the need arise. If you would like to read the entire text of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, I have included a link under the resources tab. What are your thoughts? Did you find this article helpful? Please take a moment to comment on this article and share it with someone.
Tracy G. Blades