A 2015 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau collected data from 2,132 U.S. citizens regarding the behavior of collection agencies. The results were alarming: 1 in 3 Americans are contacted by a debt collector or creditor each year. Of those contacted nearly 30% felt harassment or extreme pressure to submit payment. What’s worse is that 36% of the calls were placed between 8:00am and 8:00pm sometimes as late as 9:00pm.
Understand Your Rights
The best place to start is to understand the regulations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent resource that breaks down the legal jargon into common-language explainer.
It’s illegal for collectors to use profanity, violence or threatening language. They are also prohibited from contacting you at odd times of the day without your permission.
Debt collectors are required to submit a written notice that explains what the borrower owes. If you receive calls from a collections agent, ask them to send you a formal letter with proof of the original loan. There are several situations where an inaccurate amount of funds were requested from the borrower that exceeded the original agreement.
Therefore you must always verify everything you’re told over the phone and of course any written documents they mail you. This will help you avoid debt collection scams that continue to plague the United States.
Log Every Interaction
Take detailed notes each time you speak with anyone from a debt collection company. If they transfer your call, ask for the number they are sending you to and the name of the person with whom you’re intended to speak. Ensure this document can be easily reproduced and should you need to file a complaint.
Be the squeaky wheel
Should a complaint be in order, submit it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The government can take action against negligent companies. https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint
Better Credit understands that coping with financial trouble is frustrating and if a debt collector pressures you, it can make the situation more challenging.
Therefore, the law is on your side when dealing with debt collection companies. For more information on these laws, review the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which monitors collection agencies and shields consumers from their harassment and abusive tactics.
For your reference, debt collectors are not allowed to:
- Contact you at work if you’ve told them verbally or in writing not to use your work number
- Call before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m.
- Inflate the amount you owe
- Inform a third party that you owe them money
- Abuse or harass you or someone else they contact about you
- Use deceptive methods to collect a debt from you. For example, they cannot:
- Use a fake company name
- Falsely claim to be law enforcement officers
- Claim that you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay your debt
- Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company
- Threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or your wages (unless they are permitted by law to do it and intend to do so)
If you need immediate assistance increasing your credit score, contact Better Credit and speak with one of our credit repair experts.