Your Rights Against Debt Collectors

In of CreditGuy (July 15, 2008 9:42 pm)

Ignorance takes away our power. And when it comes to credit repair, and credit collection, our ignorance can give the credit and collection companies even more power than they actually have. Armed with knowledge, we have the power to take back our financial lives! Here are some of the rights you have against debt collectors. Be aware of your rights!

How Creditors Track You Down: This area of the law is formally called “Acquisition of Location Information.” It basically limits what debt collectors can do to legally find you. For instance, debt collectors:

  1. Can’t tell third parties, such as your boss or neighbors that they’re trying to reach you about a debt.
  2. Shall only say to others that they’re trying to confirm or correct your location (and not mention your debt).
  3. Must not communicate with any one else (like your supervisor) more than once, unless the debt collector believes the location information given was erroneous or incomplete.
  4. Are not supposed to mail you anything via postcard, either at home or at your place of employment.
  5. Can’t use any kind of mailing, envelope, or other communication that would let someone else know that the company is a debt collection agency.
  6. Are prohibited from contacting you once you notify them in writing that you are represented by an attorney and give them the attorney’s name/address.

The Way Debt Collectors Communicate About You: This area of the law prevents collection agencies from hounding you or trying to embarrass you by telling others your personal business. The law states that debt collectors:

  1. Can’t communicate with you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. (your local time) unless you give them permission or they have a court order to do so.
  2. Can’t contact you if you’ve notified them that a lawyer is representing you.
  3. Can’t call you on the job if you tell them that your employer prohibits you from receiving such calls.
  4. Can’t talk about your situation with anyone; not your friends, relatives, neighbors or coworkers. The only ones they can discuss your debts with are your attorney, the original creditor and credit-reporting agencies.

Legal Action By Debt Collectors: Federal law limits where debt collectors can bring legal proceedings against consumers that owe money. In general, any debt collector initiating legal action shall:

  1. Bring legal action against real property only in a judicial district or similar legal entity where the property is located.
  2. Barring the above provision, debt collectors can bring action in judicial district where the consumer signed the contract or where he/she currently lives.

Civil Liability: When debt collectors break the law, they can be sued for failing to abide by federal rules and forced to pay:

  1. The actual damages sustained.
  2. Additional damages up to $1,000 (for an individual).
  3. The lesser of $500,000 or 1% of the debt collector’s net worth (in the case of a class action lawsuit).

I hope these have helped you and will empower you to deal with your creditors with confidence. Watch for the next set of credit repair tips!

Paul Daniels

1 Comment »

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