Abusive Debt Collection Practices and How to Stop Them
Currently, debt collectors are like your ex-boyfriend/husband. They are always calling you and harassing you.
Some people dread those 8 am phone calls from the debt collectors. Some people dread those letters about the debts they owe as well.
It is time to face your fears and deal with the debt collectors. It is time to face the facts, you are and always will be protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Abusive Debt Collection Practices and How to Stop Them
Today, we are going to discuss the many ways that debt collectors will try and make you fearful into paying your debts even if that means making you further into debt.
Many debt collectors will use these practices to instill fear in you to do what they want. For instance, a debt collector cannot legally call you at work, if your boss does permit you to take personal calls. Debt collectors cannot legally sue you or threaten to take your home if you are behind on paying your debt either.
Do you have any legal recourse?
Of course, you do! That is why we have the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was put in place back in 1977. This is to eliminate all abuse by the debt collectors. This act will protect you against unwanted calls, threats, and even harassment.
These debt collectors are hired and will be paid on commission to collect the past-due balance amounts. Debt collectors will also have the chance to purchase your debts outright as well. When they do that, they will have the opportunity to then collect the full amount of money that you currently are indebted to.
What Exactly is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
I know we have mentioned it a little bit above, but let’s really dive in. As we have previously mentioned the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was put in place in 1977. This act will protect you from the following:
- Protects against unwanted phone calls, threats, abusive language, arrest, harm, and harassment.
- Allows you to get proof that you do in fact owe that debt.
- Protects you against them disclosing to non-authorized people that you owe this debt.
- Only permits debt collectors to call between the hours of 8 am to 9 pm.
- Allows you, the consumer to sue the debt collectors for violating the law (when applicable).
How to Properly Handle a Debt Collector in Nevada
Now that we have went over what the Far Debt Collection Practices Act is and that you are protected, here is how you can properly handle a debt collector step by step.
Your First Contact
When a debt collector first contacts you, they are required to inform you that they are debtors. They must also inform you of your rights if you choose to dispute the debt.
This right here is commonly labeled as the “mini-Miranda” disclosure information. The debtor will be required to tell you the following pieces of information before going any further with the phone call:
- Name of the Creditor
- Amount Owed
- If you do not dispute the validity of the debt within 30 days, the debt will then officially be considered valid
- You can ask for verification of the questionable debt
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the above information will be required to be given to you over the phone or sent in writing within 5 days of the debt collector making the very first phone call.
Disputing Your Debts
When a debt collector contacts you, you have full authority to request written verification of proof of this debt. However, the catch is, you cannot verbally ask for it over the phone. You, the consumer is required to request for verification through writing. You must request for verification within 30 days of the first phone call from a debt collector.
When requesting for verification, all letters and phone calls from the debt collector will stop until they can verify your debt.
The debt collectors will be required to provide you verification of your debt when you ask for it in writing.
Stopping the Calls
If you find that the debt collectors are calling you excessively this goes against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The debt collectors cannot jeopardize your job or even harass your neighbors and friends. If this is the case, you will need to send a cease and desist letter. You can request that the debt collectors only communicate with you about your debt in writing or just cut off all communication together.
Abuse & Harassment
Debt collectors cannot legally use any language that threatens criminal action or violence that will put harm to you, your property, or even your reputation. This is illegal under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
Debt Collectors cannot use offensive language, profane language, or obscene language either.
Debt collectors cannot call you excessively, hang up, call you and not say a word when you pick up, and they definitely cannot call you privately (number hidden) with the intention to harass, annoy, or abuse you, your family, your employer, or neighbors.
If the calls are filed under harassment, you can ask that they desist.
There are many people that have stated that debt collectors showed up at their homes. These debt collectors would flash a badge quickly and claim they were police officers ready to arrest them. This is against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Debt Collectors are not permitted to use these misleading tactics or be deceptive when they are trying to collect their debts.
Do NOT Post-date Your Checks
Many people will tell you that when paying debt collectors one thing they will do is make you pay with a post-dated check.
People who have fell for this tactic will tell you that you should avoid paying ANY debt collectors with a post-dated check no matter how hard they try and pressure you.
There are many issues that can come from you paying with a post-dated check that includes the debtors cashing the check prior to the date that is on the check. This will result in the check bouncing and causing you even more grief with your bank.
It is sad that the fact that you must protect your private information. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states that it is illegal for ANY debt collector to disclose any information to anyone other than the person who is authorized.
All letters being sent to you from these debt collectors must not identify as such either. Debt collectors cannot send you postcards either.
Ah, so, if you feel like you are a victim of deceptive or unfair debt collection practices that go against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can file a civil suit against the debtors. However, you only have a year from the violations to do so.
If you win the case, you can be awarded your damages for actual losses due to violations, along with any of your attorneys’ fees and court costs up to $1,000.
If you file by yourself, you can earn up to $500,000 or 1-percent of the net worth of the debtor in question. Typically, you will be awarded from whichever is lower.
People will tell you that keeping copies of all correspondence that you send and receive from your debt collectors is a vital part of dealing with. Some people even highly advise you to keep a journal of each day and time you answer a call from the debt collectors, especially if you are dealing with more than one debtor