If you are struggling to pay your bills on time and dealing with mounting debt in Minnesota, your phone may seem like it always ringing with unknown numbers from creditors. You may also notice that your mailbox is full of bills and past due notices. This persistent harassment from creditors may be causing you to feel unsettled and overwhelmed by your situation.
You do not need to change your phone number or get a post office box. There are ways for you to get control of your debts to put an end to creditor harassment. Take some time to review the following tactics to get some peace of mind.
Know your rights
The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act offers you protection against actions creditors may take when collecting debts. Some of those tactics are illegal and include:
- Calling you back to back
- Contacting you at night or in the early morning
- Threatening arrest or harm
- Calling your place of employment after you tell them not to
- Speaking in an obscene and demeaning way towards you
- Informing your friends, relatives, employers and references about your debts
You have the right to file a lawsuit against any debt collection agency that violates your rights. If you do not want your creditors to call you, let them know. You should also insist that all communications occur through certified mail so there is documentation.
Creditors must identify themselves
Creditors are legally required to identify themselves before providing you with information about your debts. They must give you their name and the name of the organization they represent. Your debt collectors must not also misrepresent themselves as federal or government entities or share your information about your accounts with anyone they communicate with while trying to contact you.
Validate your debts
Your bill collectors must validate your debts. They must provide you with information about how to dispute any debts you feel are not accurate. All verifications must be in writing.
You may not feel like dealing with them, but ignoring creditor calls and bills are not going to make them disappear. Contact your creditors to work with them to settle your debts, or look into other options for debt relief, such as filing for bankruptcy.