If you feel that you’ve been harassed by debt collectors, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is there to help. Calls from creditors are never enjoyable, but if you’re disabled and on a limited income, it can be even more stressful, and it can even worsen your disability.
That’s why there are various state and federal laws in place to protect you, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. How does it help? By limiting what debt collectors are allowed to do and say to you.
There are a number of things that they simply cannot do under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
* It is illegal for them to harass you. thecreditrepairblueprint Forms of harassment include but are not limited to: threatening violence, ethnic slurs, disparaging remarks about a disability, and unrelenting phone calls.
* They are not allowed to tell others about your debt. They can inform your spouse, your attorney, or a person who has co-signed a debt with you, but they are not allowed to discuss it with anyone else.
* You cannot go to jail just for owing money. If a debt collector threatens you with jail time, he’s most likely breaking the law. Keep in mind though, that you should never disregard a legal notice, such as a court appointment – you can be arrested for ignoring legal notices.
* They must use the appropriate legal channels to get your money or property. They may try to scare you into making a payment right away, but in some cases they cannot seize your property without taking you to court to obtain a judgment. And some property, like disability income, is often protected from creditors.
When you’re dealing with creditors, there are a couple of things you should do in order to make the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act work for you.
* Always take notes when talking to them. It’s important that you have clear records of what they say to you, especially if they are acting illegally.
* Keep copies of any information or letters you receive from or send to them. Again, you want clear records of any interactions with creditors.
* If a debt collector is acting illegally, you may be able to sue them. Some attorneys will take on your case on a contingent fee basis, which means they don’t get paid unless you win. And if you win a suit against a collection agency, they may be required to pay your legal fees.
If you feel you are being harassed, there is a toll-free hotline available, the Collection Complaint Hotline. You can talk to an attorney for free, and get legal advice or even find someone to take on your case on a contingent fee basis.
Dealing with debt collectors can be a cause of extreme stress, all the more so if you’re disabled. But the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is there to protect you. So make it work for you, and learn all you can about the law.