Debt collectors have one thing in mind – to make sure that they collect payment from debtors on behalf of the institution that they represent. This is quite understandable but as a consumer you should also be aware of your rights against debt collectors.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that states the specific rules that third-party debt collectors must follow when contacting a consumer about a debt that was sent to their collection agency. This includes medical bills, credit card bills, and auto loans.
As a consumer it pays to be aware of your basic rights. Here are some of those rights.
The law clearly states that debt collectors can only call between 8 am and 9 pm in your time zone. Let the debt collector know the most convenient time for you to accept their call.
No Work Calls
Let the debt collector know that you don’t wish to be contacted while at work. This request can be done verbally or in writing. Debt collectors are legally required to stop calling your workplace during your work hours as requested.
One Call Is Enough
The Federal Trade Commission classifies more than one call a day from a debt collector as a form of harassment. If you disagree with the claim for the amount of debt that you owe, you can request for the debt collector to stop calling until the debt has been verified.
Once you have been contacted by a debt collector, you have the right to dispute the validity of the claim within 30 days. Send them a letter of validation that requests proof of your debt.
The debt collector, upon receiving your letter, cannot proceed with their collection activities until you receive proof of the debt.
They are not legally allowed to divulge any information about your debt to other persons unless it is your lawyer, spouse, or if you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian.
The debt collector can only collect the specific amount written on the debt validation letter. They cannot charge you more than this.