7 Illegal Debt Collection Practices to Watch For

You’re busy at work when the phone rings. Assuming that it’s a client or a colleague, you answer it but, instead, you’re greeted by a hostile debt collector – the same one who’s been calling the office every day for a month now. You’ve told them not to call you at work, but they refuse to listen. When you don’t pick up, they call your supervisor instead. It’s so stressful, but they insist that you owe the money and they’re not going to stop calling until you pay.

What they won’t tell you is that such conduct violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which regulates how third-party collection agencies may communicate with indebted consumers. Below is a list of 7 illegal practices that violate the FDCPA and gives you the right to sue any debt collector that uses them with you.

  1. Using profane and obscene language

If you pick up the phone and a debt collector starts yelling, swearing, or otherwise speaking to you in an abusive manner, hang up immediately and send written notification to the collection agency management.

  1. Making threats they cannot carry out

One popular tactic is to tell frightened debtors is that they’re about to be sued when the agency has no intention of filing a lawsuit. Similarly, they can’t threaten to garnish your wages, seize your home, or have you arrested when there are no grounds for any of these actions.

  1. Harassing you by phone

Collection agencies cannot call you non-stop, either directly or by using an autodialer. If they make your phone ring over and over until you pick up, they are breaking the law.

  1. Calling you outside of approved hours

Debt collectors may legally call you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. your time Monday through Saturday and 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Any calls placed outside of those hours are illegal. They may try to tell you that as long as you owe money, they can call you after midnight on New Year’s Eve, but they can’t.

  1. Discussing your debt with other people

Debt collectors can only discuss your debt with you, your spouse, and your attorney. No one else. They may reach out to your employer to verify that you work there and contact your friends or family to obtain your contact information, but only once. If they call your payroll department and tell them that they intend to garnish your wages, they have violated the FDCPA.

  1. Concealing their identity

When you speak to a debt collector, they must tell you who they are and why they are calling. They can’t pretend to be attorneys or police officers to instill a false sense of alarm and frighten you into paying.

  1. Contacting you after you send in a cease communications request

If you send a written request asking a collection agency to stop contacting you, they must comply. They can still take legal action against you and contact you through an attorney to notify you of an impending lawsuit, but otherwise they are no longer permitted to call you.

At the Law Offices of B. David Sisson, we are dedicated to protecting consumers from illegal debt collection practices. We believe that even if you owe money, you have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. If you are being insulted or harassed by debt collectors, contact us today. Attorney Sisson will help you take appropriate action to stop the abusive behavior and get you the compensation you may be entitled to.

B David Sisson


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