Have you been harassed by debt collectors?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Bankruptcy

There are many misconceptions about financial hardship. For example, a common myth is that everyone in debt has spent recklessly. The unfortunate reality is that tens of millions of Americans are currently struggling to get by financially. 

When faced with debts, calls, visits and letters from collection agencies are a real possibility. Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that you have legal rights in this situation. Debt collectors cannot harass you and they must adhere to the law set out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). 

Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Debt collectors are not police officers 

Debt collectors do not have powers of arrest. You cannot be arrested simply for being in debt. If a debt collector pretends to be the police or other government agency, chances are they have broken the law. 

Debt collectors must exercise discretion 

There are also regulations in terms of how debt collectors should communicate with you. Firstly, no threatening language should be used during phone calls, home visits or in letters. Debt collectors should generally also not visit your home address late at night or very early in the morning (outside the hours of 8 am-9 pm). 

Some collection agencies believe that publicly shaming someone is a good way to get them to pay up. Nonetheless, this type of practice goes against the regulations set out in the FDCPA. 

The facts must be correct  

You are not liable for the debts of other people. The names, addresses and financial details on documents possessed by debt collectors must be accurate. For instance, you are not liable for the debts left behind by a former owner of your house. 

If you are facing financial difficulties, remember that you’re not alone. Having legal guidance on your side will help you to get back on your feet.