Anyone who uses a credit card, owes money on a personal loan, or pays a home mortgage is a “debtor.” Taking a loan and making payments has become standard practice among home buyers, people who want to buy a car, or attend a college or university. When someone lags in paying back their creditors or has an error in their account, they might be contacted by “debt collectors.” . To reduce this kind of anxiety, it is very helpful, empowering, and educating to know what your rights are under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibit certain debt collection methods.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debt covered covers personal, family, and household debts. This includes money owed for car purchases, for medical care, or for expense accounts. Debt collectors are people who regularly collect other people’s debts and they can include lawyers. Debt collectors often contact people directly, or by telephone, fax, or letter. Under the Act, a debt collector can only contact you between regular hours from 8am to 9pm. Other times are strictly prohibited unless the person gives permission to the debt collector to contact them. Debt collectors also cannot contact you at work unless you give them permission. Debt collectors can be prevented from contacting people if the person referred, writes a letter asking the collector to stop contacting them. After the collector receives the letter, they cannot contact the person again except to say there will be no further contact or to inform the person that the debt collector or creditor intends to take certain actions. Writing a letter of course, does not eliminate debt. It only eliminates any harassment that occurs from creditors or debt collectors. A debt collector can also contact the lawyer of the person involved and also investigate the person’s background further, to obtain information such as the telephone number, residence, and place of work of the person concerned. Debt collectors are permitted to contact the third party once and are prohibited from further interfering with the person’s privacy.
Within five days after the person was first contacted about their debt, the collector must send the person specific written notice of how much money they owe, the name of the creditor to whom they owe this money; as well as what action should be taken if the person does not believe that they owe this money. A debt collector also by law, cannot contact that person again, if within thirty days of receiving written notice, the person writes a letter stating that they do not owe money. A debt collector can renew billing activities if they send proof of debt, such as a copy of the bill for the amount due.