If ever there were an understatement, it’s that debt collectors are not popular among debtors. They buy debts from banks, often for a fraction of their values, and then pursue the debtors until they are paid, if they can be. Every successfully collected debt adds to their profit margins, so they have a potent incentive to employ as high-handed tactics as they possibly can.
Consequently, Congress stepped in and passed laws to protect debtors while allowing collectors to maintain their businesses. Of particular note are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site [http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm], here are some practices that debt collectors cannot engage in:
- Phone calls before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM, unless you agree.
- Phone calls at your workplace if your employer forbids debt collectors from calling there.
- Contacting you or anyone else after you have told them that you are represented by an attorney. Once you are represented, the debt collector can only contact him or her.
- Contacting you after you’ve sent it a letter stating you don’t owe the money or asking for verification of the debt. If the collector sends the verification, it can resume calls.
- Threats of violence
- Publishing a your name as a debtor
- Using foul language
- Repeatedly using the phone to annoy you
- Making any false statements, such as claiming it’s a government agency, that you are a criminal, that you will be arrested, that it’s a credit reporting agency and not a collector, that you owe more (or less) than you actually do, and that forms it has sent you are or are not legal forms if the opposite is true
- The following “unfair practices”: depositing post-dated checks early, threatening to take your property (unless it can), contacting you by postcards, and trying to collect interest, fees, or other charges that aren’t a part of the debt
This list illustrates the lengths to which debt collectors used to go to collect debts and harass debtors. They’ve come up with new ways of doing it, and some people speculate the penalties on them are too light to deter them from doing them. That said, the best way of ending the frustrating calls is to hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. A Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer can help you sort out your debt problems and require debt collectors to call him instead of you.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call 702-880-5554 to set up a free consultation.