As a responsible person, you always make an effort to pay your bills on time. However, if you have had an unexpected event in your life, you may have to pick and choose between bills you can pay right away and debts that have to be put off until later. If your debt has reached the past-due stage, then you are probably being contacted by debt collection agencies.
Dealing with debt collectors is not easy, but it is important to realize that you still have rights.There are certain actions that creditors cannot lawfully take in their efforts to pressure you into paying the debt.
These high-pressure debt collection tactics include the following:
1. Calling you after hours
Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at home, at work or on your cellphone before 8 am or after 9 pm.
2. Using deception
Debt collectors may not use deceptive tactics or make false statements when they are trying to collect your debt. This includes telling you that you are being investigated for a crime, falsely claiming to be a member of law enforcement or claiming to be an attorney. Additionally, debt collection agencies must identify themselves as such.
3. Contacting you at work
Debt collectors cannot lawfully contact you at work if you have let them know either verbally or in writing that you are not allowed to receive such calls at your place of employment.
4. Continuing to make contact
Debt collectors cannot continue to contact you once you send a letter indicating you either do not owe money or are requesting further verification of the debt. Please note, however, that the letter must be sent to the collector within 30 days and that collection tactics may lawfully resume once a requested debt verification is issued.
5. Adding fees
Debt collectors may not add additional fees to your debt unless this is explicitly allowed by either the state you live in or the contract under which your debt was accrued.
If you have been a victim of any of these illegal debt collection methods, you have options available to help stop the harassment. You may also be entitled to receive compensation for these violations of the law. Please note, however, that you only have one year to do so from the date the illegal collection method took place.
An experienced debt collection attorney may be able to help you put a stop to these threats and seek appropriate compensation.