In these tough economic times, debt collectors can be especially ruthless. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), was put into place to protect consumers, but still, some debt collectors will stop at nothing to get what is owed. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly by a debt collector, but you aren’t sure if it is illegal or not, here are the most common violations:
There are very strict rules when it comes to when bill collectors can call you. According to the FTC website, they absolutely cannot call you at an unusual time, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Also, if you tell the collector that they can’t call you at work because your employer doesn’t allow calls, then they can’t call you at your place of employment. This still counts whether you state it in writing or orally.
Contacting a third party
A more recent issue with bill collectors is that they are starting to call unauthorized third parties. This might include your family, friends or employer. They aren’t allowed to talk about your debt to anyone else besides you or your attorney, and in some cases, your spouse. The only time they can contact someone else is to find out where you work, your phone number or address; however, they can never talk to someone else about your debt.
A debt collector must send you a proper notice of your debt, and it must be done no more than five days after they first contact you. The validation notice must include: the creditor, the amount owed, and a way to dispute the debt if you believe you don’t owe it.
If any of these things have happened to you, it’s important to make the debt collectors pay the price. We would be more than happy to assess whether you have a claim under the FDCPA and help you enforce your rights. Are you unsure if you have a claim? Don’t hesitate to give me a call or set an appointment at any one of our consumer law offices located in Seattle, Portland, Vancouver or Salem.