Know Your Rights

What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Say

Chances are pretty good that either you or someone you know will get a call from a debt collector in the course of your lifetime.  The collection call can be for a legitimate debt that you or your loved one have forgotten you owe or it can be for a debt that does not belong to you.  Either way, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") was enacted to protect you from the harsh treatment of debt collectors and ensure that you are treated with respect during the collection process.  It is important to educate yourself with your rights under the statute and to be aware of what a collector may and may not say in an effort to collect the debt.

While the FDCPA does not have an inclusive list of what a collector can and cannot say to you, the following is a fairly comprehensive list of actions that violate the law and should encourage you to contact an attorney to discuss your options about pursuing a legal claim. 

  1. A debt collector cannot represent himself as a member of law enforcement, a policeman or sheriff, or as an attorney if he is not one;        
  2. A debt collector cannot threaten to arrest you or claim he has a warrant out for your arrest; Not paying your debts is not a crime and is not punishable by incarceration;
  3. A collector cannot threaten to physically harm you in an effort to receive payment;
  4. Collection agencies must place collection calls from a legitimate telephone number;
  5. A collection agency cannot threaten to sue you, garnish your wages, put a lien on your home or report your debt to the credit reporting agencies if it has no intention of doing so;   
  6. A collector cannot use profane language, cannot yell at you or use a tone that is meant to intimidate or berate you;
  7. A collector cannot disclose your debt to a third party including family, friends, neighbors or co-workers;
  8. A debt collector cannot call you before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.;
  9. A debt collector cannot call you at your place of employment if you have told him or he has reason to believe you are prohibited from receiving calls during work;
  10. A collector cannot place excessive calls to you at any time;
  11. A collector cannot leave a message on a family answering machine;
  12. A collector cannot use deceptive mailings, like a post card and cannot have any information regarding the debt on the outside of the envelope;  

If you have a collection agency contacting you to collect a debt and you feel your rights have been violated, contact SmithMarco P.C. for a free case review.

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