Consumers are in a very strong position when it comes to debt. You have a lot more rights than you may realize. Stay calm and in control when dealing with debt collectors and research your rights so that you’re in a powerful position to take back control of the situation.
You are protected under law by the Federal Trade Commission. Here’s a list of your rights that you should know at all times when dealing with any situation involving debt, credit cards or loans. I’d recommend printing out this list and keeping it handy at all times.
According to the FDCPA, any debt collection agency or individual seeking to collect debt is not allowed to do any of the following things :
- Phone you outside of the hours of 8am to 9pm
- Phone or contact you in any way at your place of employment if you’ve informed them that your employer doesn’t permit non-work related calls. I’d recommend doing this anyway because you don’t want any calls at work. It’s best your employer doesn’t know about any debt you have.
- They cannot tell anyone that you owe money. You are fully protected in this regard. All they can do is request your contact information, but they’re not allowed to say why.
- They cannot verbally abuse or intimidate you in any way.
- Lie about how much you owe them. They have to be completely truthful with you about what you owe. Lying about what you owe also falls under intimidation, so they’ll be in serious trouble if they try this tactic.
- They cannot claim to be anyone they are not, like police officers.
- They can’t threaten you with arrest. If they ever say you’ll be arrested for not paying then you should take legal action against them immediately.
- They cannot falsify credit info about you to any other companies or credit referencing agencies and they certainly can’t threaten you with this. Any mention of updating your credit file with defaults can be construed as a threat or form of intimidation, so if this happens remind them of your rights.