Protect Your Rights
We all know the feeling; that first call comes, and you know it’s the beginning of a long, frustrating ordeal.
When you’re in debt, collection agencies can make life a little, and sometimes a lot, more stressful. In this situation, it can help to know that you have rights. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with contact from debt collectors.
You have the right to protection.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) of the larger Consumer Credit Protection Act ensures that debt collectors must follow certain practices. This legislation was passed to prevent harassment and other extreme practices from disrupting the lives of consumers. You have rights; it there in black and white.
Your life is still yours.
There are certain times during the day when collectors are forbidden from calling. This only stands if you specifically request it, however, so be sure to to speak to the collections agency and give them specific parameters. We sometimes feel the instinct to just ignore or avoid the calls. This is not a good idea in the long run. Be honest and upfront; creditors cannot honor a request if they don’t know what it is.
If you contact an agency by mail, be sure to get a receipt and proof of delivery. This can cover your basis in case they claim they never received it.
Your office is off limits.
Debt collectors must stop contacting you at work if it is made clear to them that it is disruptive or discouraged by the employer. This is an important aspect of FDCPA, so be sure to take advantage.
The Golden Rule still applies.
While debt collectors don’t necessarily have to be sweet, they certainly aren’t permitted to be nasty. There are a number of specific types of language a collector is prohibited from using, and you don’t have to sit back and take the harassment. Check out the complete list on the government website here.
Debt is a scary thing. But if you enter the situation confident and knowledgeable, you’ll be able to protect yourself. And if you need a little help, give us a call.