If you are struggling with debt, you are likely all too familiar with debt collection calls and letters. It might seem like you are constantly getting and/or dodging them and it can feel like you are being hounded every day for payments that you cannot make.
Filing for bankruptcy can be one effective way to make these calls stop, but if you are not ready to do that, you should at least be aware of the laws that protect you from abusive, harassing debt collection practices. The rules for how debt collectors can and cannot act are defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Debt collectors can do a number of things to try and get you to pay down debt, and some of these tactics can seem abusive or unfair even if they are not. However, there are strict laws in place that generally prohibit:
- Contacting you at a time or place that is known or should be assumed to be inconvenient
- Threatening you with violence
- Using profane or obscene language in an attempt to offend, intimidate or anger you
- Lying about who they are
- Lying about your debt
- Creating the false impression that they are a member of or acting on the approval of a U.S. or State agency
- Advertising or publishing your debt in an attempt to get you to pay
- Depositing a post-dated check or threatening to do so
The fact is these practices can do more harm than good and there is evidence to suggest these and other fraudulent, abusive debt collection efforts contribute to issues like bankruptcy, job loss, invasion of privacy and even marital instability.
Considering how much damage unlawful debt collection practices can do, victims of such behaviors have every right to take action to put a stop to them. Discussing your options with an attorney can be a big step toward protecting yourself, your sanity and your future.