What Can A Debt Collector NOT Do When Attempting To Recover A Debt?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers from certain tactics used by debt collectors to collect a debt. If you are receiving harassing phone calls from debt collectors, you may be interested in knowing what your rights are. In some cases, you can actually file suit against the debt collectors who engage in abusive practices. In this article, the Columbus, OH civil litigation attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC will discuss the illegal conduct of debt collectors and how you can enforce your rights under the FDCPA.
You control communication with debt collectors
Debt collectors must abide by specific rules when it comes to recovering a debt. They are not allowed to call you at inconvenient times and they can’t tell third parties about your debt. This means that debt collectors:
- Cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Can’t contact you at work once you tell them not to
- Must only contact you through your attorney if you’re represented by one
- Can’t discuss your debt with third parties such as your family or employer
- Must stop contacting you entirely if you request it
If you want a debt collector to stop contacting you, you must put it in writing. Telling them over the phone is currently not enough. However, you can use the internet as a means to request a debt collector cease contact. This includes text messages and email.
Protection from harassing or abusive practices
The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using harassing or abusive tactics to recover a debt. This includes:
- Prohibiting the use of profane language
- Threatening to use violence
- Calling you repeatedly to annoy or harass you
- Calling you without identifying themselves as debt collectors
- Listing your debt on a public forum
Debt collectors are required to be honest
The FDCPA states that debt collectors cannot use deceptive or misleading threats to collect a debt. Debt collectors are prevented from:
- Misrepresenting the size of the debt
- Misrepresenting whether it’s past the statute of limitations
- Claiming to file a lawsuit against you when they cannot
- Misrepresenting themselves as a company, professional, or an authority figure
Debt collectors are required to answer any questions you may have honestly. As an example, a debt collector cannot tell you that a debt is actionable when it is not. If the debt has passed the statute of limitations, you need not make a payment on it. The debt collector cannot tell you the debt is still current when it is not. This is known as zombie debt. One word of caution: if you do make a payment on expired debt, then the debt will become current again and the debt collector could file suit to recover the debt. So, you don’t want that.
Talk to a FDCPA Claims Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of creditor harassment, call the Dayton, OH civil litigation attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.