There’s a deep emotional and psychological toll that dealing with constant calls, letters, and emails from debt collectors can take. Studies have found that most people are simply too frightened to answer these calls or even read collection letters.
The reason for this is obvious: A large number of creditors tend to use scare tactics in order to collect a debt. However, you should know that you do have rights under the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Knowing what the terms of that Act are will arm you with the ammunition you need to speak with debt collectors from an informed and empowered stance. Here are some of the things that you should know about the Federal Fair Debt Practices Act before you pick up the phone to negotiate with a your creditors.
Defining Debt Collectors
Debt collection companies are usually hired by banks and credit card companies on a commission basis to collect certain debts. Some debt collection companies also purchase bad debts (including student loans) from financial institutions and lenders. In either case, the people that will call you to collect debt usually work on a commission basis (meaning that they are only paid when they successfully collect a full or partial debt).
As with most people that work on a commission basis, debt collectors will try almost every trick in the book to get you to agree to a debt repayment. The problem with this tactic is that there are some things a debt collector cannot say, threaten, or do to try and obtain that payment from you.
What are those things? Take a look at the following details:
- Threats of violence. A debt collector can never threaten to use violence of any kind in order to obtain payment.
- Excessive phone calls: this law is a bit tricky to navigate, since there is no real meaning to the term “excessive” in this case (an attorney can determine whether or not calls are in excess, but it’s hard to do on your own).
- Calling your place of employment after you have explicitly noted that you cannot receive calls at work.
- Calling someone in your family and discussing your debt with that person in any way. Unless the person that a collector is calling has co-signed on a loan, your debts are your business.
- A creditor cannot call you before 8am or after 9pm.
The best way to get a debt collector off of your back is to speak with a qualified attorney, and allow your attorney to stop those calls for you.