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Creditor Harassment Unethical Collection Practices

The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection. The law is designed to protect consumers from the use of abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices.

 What Are Legal Debt Collection Practices?

If you have an attorney, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. In most cases, the collector may not tell anyone other than you and your attorney that you owe money.

A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or fax. However, a debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree. Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at your place of employment once they are made aware that your employer disapproves of these contacts.

Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money.

How to Stop Debt Collection Harassment

You can stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collector telling them to stop. Once the collector receives your letter, they usually do not contact you again. Although sending a letter to your debt collectors will stop their harassment, it does not prohibit the collection agency or original creditor from suing.

Debt Collection Practices That Are Prohibited

Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you

Use Threats Of Violence Or Harm.

Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts (except to a credit bureau).

Use obscene or profane language; or repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone.

False Statements – Debt collectors may not use any false or misleading statements when collecting a debt.

For example, debt collectors may not:

  • Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit bureau.
  • Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency when it is not.
  • Use a false name.

Unfair Practices

Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, collectors may not:

  • Collect any amount greater than your debt, unless your state law permits such a charge.
  • Deposit a post-dated check prematurely.
  • Use deception to make you accept collect calls or pay for telegrams.

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