Protect Yourself From Collection Agencies
Protect Yourself From Collection Agencies – Illegal and unfair tactics are often employed by collections agencies when seeking payment. Unfortunately, the uninformed are easy prey. To hold collection agencies accountable for blatantly unlawful practices, you first have to know your federally protected rights. Collection agencies who fail to follow the rules can result in court fees, fines and even license suspension. For your part, you could have your entire debt forgiven for fighting back against disallowed tactics.
Individuals facing collection proceeding have federally protected rights under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). Some of the specific provisions provided include:
Torment or Abuse
The law bans any form of harassment, violence, or abuse against you, your property, or members of your family. Such restrictions include making repeated calls when you’ve asked them not to, using profanity or vulgar language, or threatening actions they may or may not plan to take.
When collection agencies contact you they must do so between the hours of 8am-9pm, except if you have told them those are inconvenient times for you.
Third Parties Contacts
The exception is when they are trying to find out where you are. Then they can only ask your whereabouts and give their name. The third party cannot be contacted again unless they give permission or the agency has reason to believe they were given incomplete or false information.
Collection agencies must direct all contact through your attorney, if you have retained one as long as the attorney responds to their attempts. They can only go around your attorney if you have given permission otherwise. They have the right to contact your spouse and your parents if you are a minor, unless you tell them not to in writing. Collection agencies do not have the right to harass your adult children or your parents to get you to pay, even if this happens frequently.
False or Misleading Representation
Sometimes they draft letters intending them to appear to be from a lawyer. These tactics are not allowed under the law. In addition, the facts in your case, such as how much you owe and it’s legal status, cannot be misrepresented. Unless a collection agency actually plans to follow through with it, they also cannot threaten you with legal action.
Consumers are protected from crooked, unfair, and unreasonable tactics employed by collection. Some commonly employed include causing you to incur expenses due to their collection efforts, adding interest and fees to what you owe, and depositing post dated check prior to the date without permission.
Secondly, ask if the person you are dealing with is a CPA. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the statutory title of qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional education and experience requirements for certification.
You should direct complaints to the Federal Trade Commission, your state Attorney General’s office, and your original creditor if you have been the victim of these types of practices. First contact your original creditor who can be held liable for such violations. They may consider forgiving your entire debt if the actions were especially grievous.
Another potential recourse is to sue the collection agency for these types of violations. You must document your claims and have at least one witness. Particularly bad cases of repeated abuse have resulted in punitive damages as well. You need to know your rights when facing unscrupulous collection agencies. Hold them accountable and report any violations to the proper authorities right away to avoid being their next victim.