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Debt Collectors: What they can and can't do


There's nothing more annoying than persistent and often rude phone calls from collectors. It's to your advantage to be aware of your rights and ensure they protected. There are a number of rules and restrictions; here are some of the most commonly addressed.


Collectors:

  • Cannot harass you, threaten you, use obscene language, repeatedly call you, pretend to be an attorney, publicly reveal your debt or lie

  • Cannot attempt to collect old debt that has surpassed the time-barred statute of limitations (varies by state and type of debt)

  • Must send a validation letter outlining details of debt owed and how to dispute

  • Cannot contact you more than 7 times per week per past due account

  • Cannot contact you at work if you are not allowed personal calls while working

  • May contact your friends or family only to verify address, phone number and place of employment (but only one time)

  • Cannot call between 9pm and 8am

  • Cannot call you at all if you send a cease-and-desist letter to the agency (send certified with validation of receipt)

Tips:

  • Keep records of all correspondence to help substantiate any potential claim of violations.

  • If you feel you’re being contacted too frequently, you can demand the collector cease communication followed up with a certified letter to the original creditor and collection agency.

  • Use caution when sharing your personal or financial information to avoid scammers.

  • If you feel your rights have been violated, report it at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov.

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