A debt collector or a collection agency is an organization that is hired by businesses or individuals to collect debts owed to them by members of the general public.
Debt collectors like the third-party collection agencies are bound by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to follow certain laid down rules of engagement regarding the collection of debts.
The FDCPA is a federal guideline that states what a debt collector can and cannot do while carrying out his assigned duty of collecting a debt from you.
However, it is important to state that the FDCPA rules of engagement don’t apply to the original creditors that you owe.
How debt collectors get your information
A creditor that you owe money can reach out to a collection agency and ask them to collect what you owe on their behalf.
If the third-party debt collector enters into a contract with the original creditor to collect from you, they will receive your personal information like your address, phone number, email, the amount you owe, and to whom it is owed.
Know your rights under FDCPA when dealing with a debt collector
Under the FDCPA, these are the protection layers you can leverage to shield yourself from a collection agency.
Restricted contact: Even though the debt collector has your details, they are not allowed to call you at your place of work or call you between 8 am and 9 pm.
The threat of Violence or Jail term: Debt collectors are not permitted to threaten bodily harm or jail time towards you.
Abusive language: A debt collector isn’t allowed to use abusive language on you.
Ask them to stop calling: You have a right to ask the debt collector to stop calling you. However, this request can only be done through writing.
Right to Notice of Debt: Within the first 5 days of contacting you, the debt collector is obligated by law to tell you how much you owe and the name of the creditor through a certified letter.
If a debt collector goes against this code of conduct, it is your right to report such debt collector to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
How To Dispute Collections
Within 30 days of receiving a notice of debt correspondence from the debt collector and you feel the debt isn’t yours, you can send a certified letter to the collector disputing the debt.
Also, you can ask for the details of the original creditor.
Once you dispute the debt, the debt collector will have no choice but to stop the debt collection process and proceed to verify the debt that you’re disputing.
During the verification phase, the debt collector will provide adequate information about the debt to help you confirm if you owe the debt.
If for instance, you’re are disputing the debt on the grounds of mistaken identity, the debt collector will be obligated to provide an original copy of a signed contract that stipulates the money you owe.
The Bottom Line
Debt collectors are known to get on people’s nerves so should they contact you out of the blue, don’t get nervous.
Get in touch with Debt Relief Association for a Free Debt Review and be rest assured that there are No Up-front Fees. We help people regain their financial freedom.
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