Your Rights When It Comes To Debt Collectors

Yes, a large majority of Americans have debt; but, with that debt comes rights. Debt collectors have to obey the law, period!

If You Owe Money

Creditors don't want to bring in a debt collection agency. But if it looks like you won't pay, they will. The creditor will sell your debt to a collection agency for less than face value, and the collection agency will then try to collect the full debt from you.

If you owe a debt, act quickly — preferably before it's sent to a collection agency. Contact the creditor, explain your situation and try to create a payment plan. Usually, creditors will help you catch up. The main objective of working out a plan is so it does not end up on your credit report. If the debt has been sold off to a collection company and has been reported as a collection then it's time to take action and get the items removed. This is where companies like Approved Credit Resources steps in and helps facilitate the process.

What Debt Collectors Can’t Do

The FTC enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), which prohibits deceptive, unfair, and abusive debt collection practices. Among other things, the FDCPA bars collectors from using obscene or profane language, threatening violence, calling consumers repeatedly or at unreasonable hours, misrepresenting a consumer’s legal rights, disclosing a consumer’s personal affairs to third parties, and obtaining information about a consumer through false pretenses. Because certain practices that violate the FDCPA also violate the FTC Act, the FTC also uses the FTC Act to halt unfair or deceptive debt collection practices.

Using abusive collection tactics, including:

  • threatening violence or other criminal acts
  • using profane or obscene language
  • falsely accusing the consumer of fraud or other crimes
  • threatening arrest of the consumer, or repossession or other seizure of property without proper court proceedings
  • using the telephone to harass debtors by calling anonymously or making repeated or continuous calls
  • making collect telephone calls without disclosing the true name of the caller before the charges are accepted

Using fraudulent collection tactics, including:

  • using a false name or identification
  • misrepresenting the amount of the debt or its judicial status
  • sending documents to a debtor that falsely appear to be from a court or other official agency
  • failing to identify who holds the debt
  • misrepresenting the nature of the services rendered by the collection agency or the collector
  • falsely representing that the collector has information or something of value in order to discover information about the consumer
  • Trying to collect more than the amount originally agreed upon. (But remember: your debt can grow by the addition of fees — e.g., collection fees, attorney fees, etc.).

Enforcement

The FTC enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices. The Commission also enforces federal antitrust laws that prohibit anticompetitive mergers and other business practices that could lead to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation.

This information has been pulled directly from the Federal Trade Commissions website: https://www.ftc.gov/

Take Action

Knowing your rights is important and we take harassment seriously. If you feel you are being harassed by or have been served papers from a collection company for an upcoming civil claims court hearing, contact Legal Counsel. They will leverage the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to ensure your rights are protected. We recommend Vice & Henley, PLLC.