Many of us have been in collections at some point in our lives. Jobs cuts, decreased hours, or unexpected bills are enough to put many people behind. And according to the Huffington Post, around 30 million Americans are currently dealing with debt collections.
When it comes to dealing with debt collectors, it is important to know what is acceptable and what is not. The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act was put into place to protect you from abusive debt collectors and provide rights to guard you against dishonest acts. There are some rights that are not written that should be provided to everyone.
Right to Privacy
If a debt collector has ever called your job and advised they were calling about a bill or informed somebody at your home that you were past due on an account, they have violated your rights.
You have the right to privacy when it comes to your debt. Debt collectors cannot release information regarding your debt to neighbors, family members, or coworkers. In fact, they are prohibited from speaking to anybody but you or your attorney, unless you have given them permission otherwise.
Protection Regarding Communications
You can avoid being contacted at your job. If you have notified a debt collector you are not allowed to be contacted at your place of employment they can no longer contact you there. To avoid phone calls completely, notify the debt collector in writing.
Mail sent by a debt collector cannot give the impression they are from a federal or state agency. It also cannot be sent by postcard, allowing others to see your personal information.
Freedom from Harassment and Abuse
Having your phone ring continuously can be annoying, especially when the call comes from the same person repeatedly. What’s worse is speaking to a debt collector who is abusive and threatening. The FDCPA was created to protect you from mistreatment at the hands of debt collectors.
Any intent to annoy or harass you by telephone is strictly prohibited. Accusations of harassment are taken very seriously; debt collectors are required to keep detailed records as to when, where, and at what time you were contacted in the event they are accused of harassment.
Right to the Truth
There are many ploys that corrupt debt collectors will use to coerce you into making a payment. They may tell you the amount of your debt has increased but are willing to accept a lesser amount. They sometimes try to threaten you with legal actions they have no intention of taking.
You are entitled to accurate information. You cannot be mislead as to the legal status of any debt or told your violation of any law that is not true. The actual amount owed must be disclosed. Any deceptive act take in an attempt to collect your debt is forbidden.
Right to be Treated Fairly
Unfortunately, there are no laws that require debt collectors to be civil; however, there are some rights that should be provided to you because you are human being. Regardless of your income or paying habits, you should be treated fairly and equally. You should have the right to work with somebody who is willing to work with you.
I have spent years working in the collections industry and can tell you that the most effective debt collectors are the ones that treat people with respect and know how to compromise. If the person that you’re dealing with is not willing to work with you, call back and get somebody else.
Explore Your Rights
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced they will begin to regulate debt collectors more closely; however, many of the regulations are similar to those provided in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You will see more oversight into their action, though.
Being in collections is bad enough without having to deal with unreasonable and abusive debt collectors. Credit Repair firm Lexington Law says that knowing your rights from the beginning can empower you to stand up for yourself and avoid being pressured to make quick decisions regarding your finances.
The information provided only includes pieces of the FDCPA. If you do feel that your rights have been violated contact your state’s Attorney General to file a complaint.
This article was written by author and blogger Chase Sagum. Chase covers Financial and Economic topics from a political perspective around the web.