You’re having trouble paying your household expenses, so you’re not making payments on your debts. And now, you keep getting calls, texts, emails, and letters from debt collectors. Will it ever stop? Debt collectors start contacting you when your debt is past due. Though debt collectors can contact you, they are not allowed to threaten or harass you.
Are you ready for the phone to stop ringing? It’s time to learn more about how debt collectors work under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Plus, we’ll share how to stop debt collectors from calling.
Why Are Debt Collectors Calling?
You’re likely receiving calls from a debt collector or collection agency because your debt is past due. Sometimes, however, you may get calls from a debt collector trying to locate someone you know. Before sharing information with a debt collector, you should verify that they are who they say they are.
Within five days of contacting you for the first time, debt collectors must send you a written notice stating what you owe and how much you owe. This notice must include the name of the creditor who is collecting on the debt. If you do not receive a notice within five days, the debt collector who called may not have been legitimate.
How Do Debt Collectors Work
Debt collectors are required by law to provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, along with the amount you owe. They should also make sure you are aware that you can dispute the debt. They can provide this information in your initial phone call or through a written notice.
During your first conversation with a debt collector, you can also ask for the collector’s name, address, company, and phone number if the person you are speaking with is not the original creditor.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. They also can’t call you at work if you tell them your employer will not let you take the calls.
If an attorney represents you, you can provide debt collectors with the attorney’s contact information. From then on, the collector must contact the attorney—not you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers debt collection on mortgages, credit cards, medical bills, and personal debts. The same rules do not apply to business debts.
Who Regulates Debt Collectors?
The Federal Trade Commission is responsible for enforcing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which places certain limitations on what creditors are allowed to do to collect debt.
What Is Considered Harassment By A Creditor?
Debt collectors have a reputation for being scary, rude, or annoying in their efforts to collect on a debt. Harassment is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt collectors cannot harass you, nor can they deceive you by misrepresenting themselves or the debt in question. That being said, there is no federally defined limit to the number of times debt collectors and creditors can call that equates to harassment. But the FDCPA does provide rules surrounding the nature of their phone calls.
Some examples of creditor harassment include:
- Threatening violence, arrest, or loss of benefits
- Using obscene language
- Not telling you who they are
- Calling to make the phone ring repeatedly
- Posing as a police officer or lawyer
- Publishing your name
What to do if Creditors Violate FDCPA?
If debt collectors or creditors violate the rules laid out for them by the FDCPA, there are several courses of action you can take, which are listed below.
- File FDCPA complaint with the Consumer Financial Bureau
- File FDCPA complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
- File a complaint with Missouri’s attorney general’s office
- Sue the debt collectors outright
How Do I Get Debt Collectors to Stop Calling?
Debt collectors will stop calling you if you ask them to in writing. You will need to ask for the collector’s address and send them a letter in the mail. Once they receive your letter, they can no longer contact you about the debt. However, they can contact you to affirm that they will no longer call you or notify you if a creditor is taking legal action against you.
When you write to a debt collector, keep a copy of the letter for your records and pay for a return receipt so you have proof the letter was delivered. An attorney can help you draft a letter.
Just because a debt collector can no longer call you doesn’t mean your debt disappears. Creditors will still be able to sue you. You will need to dispute, settle, or repay the debt as soon as possible.
Is Filing Bankruptcy the Answer?
Are you unable to pay back your debts? Are you sinking further and further into debt? If your debt is overwhelming, filing for bankruptcy may help you start fresh or get on track to repay your debt. Bankruptcy also immediately stops debt collection efforts—meaning creditors must stop contacting you.
When you file for bankruptcy, you initiate an automatic stay. This automatic stay stops any collection activity. A collector must stop contacting you about the debt unless they obtain permission from the court to lift the automatic stay and resume collection efforts. If the court discharges your debts, collectors can no longer try to collect on those debts.
Bankruptcy is a serious decision. Though it may seem scary, bankruptcy may be the best choice for resolving the debt you owe.
Is bankruptcy the answer to your financial situation?
Contact Reynolds & Gold. We will help you file for bankruptcy and put a stop to collection calls from creditors.