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Dealing with Debt Collectors and Debt Collection

 


Now that you\'ve read about laws that protect consumers in debt, you might be wondering about those pesky debt collectors that keep calling. Read below to learn what they cannot do and how to report those that have crossed the line.




Stop a Debt Collector from Contacting You


If, after being contacted by a debt collector, you decide that you don\'t want the collector to contact you again, instruct the collector - in writing - to stop contacting you.


Make a copy of your letter and send the original by certified mail. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that the creditor intends to take action, like filing a lawsuit.


 


Off Limits Practices During Debt Collections


 


Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you. They may not:



  • Use threats of violence or harm.

  • Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts.

  • Use obscene language.

  • Repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.


False statements. Debt collectors may not lie when they are trying to collect a debt. They may not:



  • Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives.

  • Falsely claim that you have committed a crime.

  • Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company.

  • Misrepresent the amount you owe.

  • Falsely indicate that papers they send you are legal forms

  • Indicate that papers they send to you aren\'t legal forms if they are


Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that:



  • You will be arrested if you don\'t pay your debt.

  • They\'ll seize, garnish or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action.

  • Legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don\'t intend to take the action.


Debt collectors may not:



  • Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company.

  • Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn\'t.

  • Use a false company name.


 


What Can Be Garnished Within Fair Debt Collection Practices?


If you don\'t pay a debt, a debt collector generally can sue you to collect. If they win, a judgment will state the amount of money you owe and allow the collector to get a garnishment order against you, directing a third party to turn over funds from your account to pay the debt.


Your wages can usually be garnished only as the result of a court order. Don\'t ignore a lawsuit summons-you could lose the opportunity to fight a wage garnishment.


Many federal benefits are exempt from garnishment, including:



  • Social Security Benefits

  • Supplemental Security Income Benefits

  • Veterans\' Benefits

  • Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits

  • Service Members\' Pay

  • Military Annuities and Survivors\' Benefits

  • Student Assistance

  • Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits


 


What if a Debt Collector Has Violated Debt Collection Laws?


You have the right to sue a collector within one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, a judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. You also can be reimbursed for your attorney\'s fees and court costs.


Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away.


Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General\'s office and the Federal Trade Commission. Many states have their own debt collection laws -your Attorney General\'s office can help you determine your rights.


 



 

Benefits of Debt Consolidation

  • Lower Interest Rates
  • Lower Monthly Payments
  • Eliminate Debt in Less Time
Learn About Debt Consolidation