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Know Your Rights When Facing a Debt Collector

State and federal laws regulate how debt collectors can interact with you. These laws are intended to eliminate the most abusive debt collection practices.

Knowing these laws can help you to assert your rights when a debt collector calls. Here are some of the rights you have during a debt collection.

Federal Debt Collection Laws

The U.S. has two main federal laws on debt collection — the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The FDCPA

This act covers consumer debts, such as mortgages, medical bills, credit cards, student loans, and personal loans. The FDCPA does not cover business debts.

The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from:

Making Late or Early Calls

Under the FDCPA, debt collectors must call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time.

Harassing You

Debt collectors cannot continue to contact you after you ask them to stop. While they can still take action to collect the debt, the calls and letters must cease. Debt collectors also cannot use threatening or obscene language.

Disclosing Your Debt

Debt collectors cannot speak to anyone about your debt except your spouse and your lawyer. This includes your employer, relatives, or bank.

Lying

Debt collectors cannot lie about who they are or what the laws allow them to do.

The FCRA

These laws govern the credit reporting bureaus. When a debt collector reports a debt to the credit bureaus, the FCRA gives you the right to dispute the debt.

State Debt Collection Laws

Most states have laws about debt collection practices. Although your rights will depend on your state, most states prohibit debt collectors from:

  • Impersonating law enforcement or government officials
  • Charging fees not included in the original debt contract
  • Deceiving third parties into giving your financial information

You should review your state’s unfair practices laws to find out exactly what restrictions debt collectors must observe.

Fighting Debt Collectors

You have several options for fighting debt collectors. By asserting your rights under the FDCPA, FCRA, and other similar statutes, you may be able to turn the tables on debt collectors and make them pay you, pay your legal fees, negotiate away your debt, and delete bad credit reporting. 

To learn more about your rights against debt collectors, contact Shrader Law, PLLC.

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