All debt collection agencies know that they must follow the rules specified in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). It’s the law. And in many areas it’s quite clear. Take a look at this list to see if your collector is skirting any debt collection laws.
1. Calling you during disallowed hours of the day – The rules state that they cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. But these aren’t the only forbidden times. They aren’t allowed to call you during inconvenient times you specify and during your regular sleeping hours. And, they must stop calling you when you notify them in writing that you wish to cease speaking with them.
2. Contacting you on Sundays
3. Calling and harassing you at home relentlessly multiple times a day, nearly every day of the week
4. Harassing you at work, especially when they know your employer prohibits such constant calls
5. Talking to your employer about your debt for something other than a child support issue. Any other contact with your employer is likely a move to embarrass you or to somehow get your employer to put pressure on you.
6. Spilling the beans about your debt and finances to friends and neighbors in an attempt to embarrass you. It’s okay for the collector to ask them for your address or phone number, but nothing about money you might owe.
7. Avoiding all discretion by sending you a letter that makes it obvious that it came from a debt collection agency
8. Mailing you a letter that has been dressed up to make it looks like it came from an official government source such as a court
9. Cursing, insulting, and belittling you and your reputation. However, they are permitted to be aggressive and threatening when telling you what could legally happen if you don’t pay up.
10.- Ordering you around like a military general to do something like take their calls
11. Taking a post-dated check that you’ve sent them as a result of an agreed upon settlement and then deposited the check earlier than the date shown on the check.
12. Inflating the amount of debt you owe. But examine the original agreement you had with the creditor because it might mention that fees will be added in the event you don’t pay on time.
From some of the horror stories that I’ve read about and gotten from people, it’s not surprising that many debt collectors have no qualms about breaking just about all of these debt collection laws. And even if you warned them about breaking the rules, they have so little respect for it, they’ll probably tell you they don’t care.
That’s okay, let them play their games. What you should do is keep this list handy, and also get yourself a little notebook or journal. Jot down every instance of where it appears that they have broken these debt collection rules. Include dates, times, names, and exact words that were spoken.
This way, when you sue them for big bucks down the road, your attorney will have lots of great ammunition to work with.