Financial problems create stress while performing the most normal of tasks. Answering the phone or checking mail is an exercise in significant anxiety as past-due notices pile up. The feelings of helplessness are only made worse with aggressive debt collectors engaged in harassment and abuse.
These unethical actions not only violate the rights of consumers with past-due or delinquent accounts but also the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The federal law oversees third-party debt collectors and the strategies they employ. These companies purchase past-due debuts from the original creditor. From there, many of these companies make late-night calls and outright harass consumers to get payment.
The FDCPA provides much-needed protections for consumers who are experiencing severe financial problems. Knowing your rights is paramount to holding debt collectors responsible for violations.
Rules and limitations collectors must follow
Regardless of how debt is collected, collectors must adhere to the FDCPA rules and the limitations placed on them that include:
- No calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- No calls at work as requested by the consumer
- Contacting an attorney if legal representation has been secured
- No contact with third parties that include employers, neighbors, or family members
- Stop collection actions upon your request, whether that involves telephone, mail, or newer means of communication, including texts, email, and social media
Far too many creditors engage in harassing or abusive tactics in an effort to shame consumers into paying their past-due balances, another “strategy” prohibition in the FDCPA. Yet, it still does not stop collection companies who intimidate consumers with foul language and threats of violence. Their goal is to threaten and wear down consumers who feel forced to pay when they need the money for household necessities.
In the end, knowledge is power for consumers feeling powerless and wanting to end the cycle of debt problems.