Consumer Protection Protect Individuals From Debt Collectors Harassment
Debt collectors are always there. The more you use credit and fall behind, the more they are there, in their cubicles, calling you. But to what extent does it become harassment?
You have many rights to protect yourself from collection companies. No matter whom they are or what they are after, you can make sure that your identity stays yours and you can be free from illegal harassment.
Please notice, that if it's a 3rd party debt collector calling you and you want the calls to stop you should get their official mailing address and send them the. This is applicable if the debt is being collected by a 3rd party debt collector only. For example if you owe money to your bank, but they hired a different company to harass you.
Who Are You Anyway?
Creditors and collectors must abide by the law that states that they have to tell you this is an attempt to collect a debt before obtaining information from you. In other words, if someone calls you and immediately asks you to verify your information, you do not have to tell them who you are, where you live, or anything until they have satisfactorily told you who they are and what the purpose of the phone call is. This protects you as the consumer as well as you as a person with an identity. They must also tell you that the phone call may be recorded for your protection and for whatever reason they come up with. If you do not want to be recorded, you must ask them to contact you on a line that will not be recorded. You also must tell them that they are being recorded on your end if you decide to do so. Not telling them, or you, will not be held up in court and will be dismissed as inadmissible evidence.
You have the right to your credit report from any company that provides it. Making sure you have a copy of this, and understanding what is on it, is important when dealing with harassing debt collectors. You also have the right to dispute any activity on your credit history, file for identity theft, and ensure that you and your life are protected. If a creditor continues to contact you on a debt that you have lawfully disputed, you have the right to file harassment against them and the company they work for.
Know the Legal Times
Did you know that under the Credit Act of 2006, you have the right to refuse a phone call during certain hours of the day? This act has made sure that collectors can only call during day time hours up until 9:00 PM. Phone calls that come after this time period, especially on holidays, non-business days, or federal periods, are illegal and the company can be sued. Also, it is illegal for these companies to tell your information to anyone else besides you without your explicit written consent to them and to the original creditor. They cannot tell someone else over the phone your information, including your spouse, even if you say it's okay over the phone. For them to do this is considered as implied consent, which is only legal for emergency responders. Additionally, if you don't want to be contacted by phone, you also have the right to tell them they can only contact you in writing and they are bound by law to comply with your request. If they call after this request has been made, it is considered harassment. This is a point many people are unaware of.
A collector must keep their cool with you over the phone, be professional, and use appropriate language. They also must remember that their job is limited in what they are allowed to do and using words that are obscene or making obscene gestures and phrases or threats over the phone is illegal. Even if you have become downright irate with them, even if you succumb to using curse words, the collector must still maintain professional, cool, calm, and collected.
Remember that there are certain things that you can do to make sure that you are not bombarded by debt collectors. These folks work off of a commission, and are expected to meet a certain quota for their position. But quota is not defined as using consumers as punching bags and you should never be treated as such by anyone. Report abuse, harassment, and illegal calls to the Federal Trade Commission as soon as they happen and not after you have been putting up with them for months, or even years.