Abusive debt collection practices

The Center for Responsible Lending issued a report in April of 2014 that said that nearly 15 percent of Americans are being contacted on a regular basis by a debt collector. For those who are unlucky enough to have to deal with creditor phone calls, there are steps that can be taken to get these calls to stop.

The first thing to do is to make sure that the debt is valid. If the debt is not valid or a debt collector has contacted the wrong person about that debt, that collector has an obligation to stop calling or otherwise contacting that person about the debt. Even if the debt is a valid one and the person being contacted owes the debt, it may be possible to end the phone calls by requesting all contact be made in writing.

Anyone who is being harassed by a debt collection agency should report that abuse to a state or federal government agency, such as the Federal Trade Commission, that may be able to take action against the collector. If a reasonable request to stop contacting a person by phone or a report of abuse goes unheeded, it may be time to hire an attorney who may be able to help a client pursue legal action against a debt collection agency that is using abusive or illegal tactics.

A collection agency has the right to contact a debtor about a valid debt that has been left unpaid. However, there are rules that the agency must follow when trying to collect that debt. Those who feel that phone calls are made too early or too late in the day or think that they are being verbally abused may wish to hire a bankruptcy attorney in an effort to resolve the issue.

Source: MSN, "4 steps to get debt collectors off your back", July 16, 2014

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