When a Debt Collection Agency Operates Illegally
Debt collection harassment can be a serious and fairly common occurrence, where many consumers may not even know when it has happened to them. While a debt collector may be able to contact a consumer about a late payment, there are certain rules the agency must follow as to not break laws or violate rights. Unfortunately, a debt collection agency may be fully aware they are operating illegally, but continue to do so anyway to appease the original creditor and make some money.
What is a debt collector?
A debt collector is a representative of an agency who tries to get money from those who are behind on their payments. The original creditor may use a debt collector to harass the consumer into finally sending in money they owe. The debt collector may not use the friendliest or most ethical methods in order to get the consumer to send in their payment.
Can a debt collector contact my work?
A debt collector is permitted to contact the consumer at work, but this is only acceptable if the consumer’s employer approves of the contact and the collector is not being intentionally disruptive to the consumer by making these calls. If a consumer requests not to be contacted at their place of employment because their company does not allow it, then the debt collector must cease contact through those means. If the debt collector does not stop, then the consumer may want to consider legal action.
What if a debt collector calls me in the middle of the night?
A debt collector is only permitted to contact a consumer between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., with consideration to the consumer’s time zone. Even calls that are made between those hours can become unlawful if the debt collector calls repeatedly or makes threats towards the consumer.
Is there anything the debt collector must share with me?
A debt collector must send a written notice within five days of the first time a consumer is contacted. The debt collector must also inform the consumer of how much is owed and the name of the original creditor. The consumer has the choice to either pay the amount or write a letter back requesting to have the debts verified. If the consumer believes the debt collection attempt is misleading or untrue, the next step may be to get advice from an attorney.
How can an attorney help protect me?
An attorney can be of guidance, representation, and offer counsel as the consumer decides whether to file a lawsuit against the debt collection agency for harassment. Sometimes a consumer may not know for sure if they have grounds for a lawsuit. An attorney can help see if taking legal action is the right choice. A consumer may be entitled to monetary compensation for the debt collection harassment. A consumer who is considering filing a lawsuit can start gathering evidence related to all the instances where the debt collector violated rights or went against state or federal laws.