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April 24 2018

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What Is Debt Collection Abuse And How Can Consumers Protect Themselves

Consumer debt is at an all-time in 2018, and unfortunately, many consumers have difficulties repaying debt. When consumers default on a loan, they may start receiving phone calls from a debt collection agency trying to settle the debt. Debt collectors often use aggressive tactics even though federal law prohibits them from harassing debtors. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), debt collectors must limit their activities, and consumers must have a means to dispute debt claims.

Harassment By Phone

The FDCPA stipulates that debt collectors can only call between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. After they make the initial contact explaining the purpose of the call, they must send a letter to the debtor's address. To stop further phone calls, the debtor just has to write a letter requesting no further contact by phone, and the agency is obligated to honor that request. If the debtor is represented by a consumer rights attorney, the agency can only communicate with the attorney and his or her client, but no third parties, such as family members or employers.

Verbal Threats

The FDCPA also prohibits the use of threatening language in an attempt to collect a debt. A debt collector is not allowed to threaten physical harm or harm to a person's reputation, like publishing the debtor's name in a list of people who have defaulted on loans. Debt collectors are also forbidden to use obscene or insulting language. Furthermore, frequently repeated calls are considered a form of threat. Consumers who experience this type of harassment have the right to complain.

False Statements

Another common tactic of debt collection agencies is making false or misleading statements to frighten the debtor. This can include claiming to be a law enforcement officer or government agent, claiming the debt amount is higher than it is, and threatening to have the debtor arrested. The FDCPA requires debt collection agencies to represent themselves honestly and to fully disclose their identity, their purpose, and the fact that the consumer has the right to make a dispute.

Consumers have rights where debt collection is concerned, but unfortunately many people who are facing the situation for the first time do not know what their rights are or how to claim them. An attorney can help clients protect their rights and avoid abuse. Anyone who is being harassed by a collection agency or who has been in a car accident can contact Modestas Law Office for more information about their rights.

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Schweinderl