How do I deal with debt collectors?

One of the frustrating issues related to falling behind on bills can be handling debt collectors. A Minnesota resident who is facing stressful collections practices may wonder about their rights and those of the collectors. Understanding debt collection guidelines may prove helpful in curbing inappropriate activities by unscrupulous individuals.

The means in which a debt collection agency may make contact include mail, telegram, fax, and telephone. The time of contact must be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, a collector is restricted from contacting an individual at a place of employment if they have reason to understand that such contact is prohibited by the employer. It is also important to note that while a collector may seek personal information such as a work location, home address, or telephone number through other individuals, it is prohibited to indicate that they represent a collection agency or that an individual owes money. If a lawyer has been retained, a collector may not contact anyone other than that individual.

It is possible to stop contact by sending a letter to the collector demanding the termination of such practice. However, a collector may still make contact to inform the debtor of legal remedies that will be sought in a case or to indicate that collection action will be stopped. Harassing or abusive behavior by debt collectors is prohibited. False or misleading statements may not be used in an effort to collect an obligation. Additionally, collection representatives are prohibited from using unfair practices to elicit payment.

An individual faced with overwhelming debt due to circumstances such as a job loss or medical emergency may find that the stress of dealing with aggressive debt collectors makes it even more difficult to cope with the situation. An attorney may be of help in addressing problems with collectors who disregard collection guidelines or requests to stop making contact.

Source: The Office of Attorney General , "ebt Collection Fact Sheet", September 16, 2014

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