Opened 5 months ago

#1623 new bug

Knowing Your Rights When Contacted by a Debt Collector

Reported by: anonymous Owned by: srkline
Priority: major Milestone:
Component: All Components Keywords:
Cc: Blocking:
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Description

So, you’ve been contacted by a debt collector. Before you consider making any payments (or just ignoring them outright), make sure that you take a deep breath and gather the facts. Get an understanding of what you owe, and why. From there, it’s important to know your rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is in place to protect you from predatory and unfair practices when it comes to debt collection. Collection agencies can help you through this process.

What Are Your Rights and How Do You Use Them?

You have a couple of important rights when it comes to debt collectors. The first is communication. You are entitled to specify when and how debt collectors can contact you, and that includes telling them to stop contacting you altogether. However, you need to understand that may not be the best idea, since this doesn’t prevent them from suing you to collect the debt. Additionally, when they do contact you, it is illegal for debt collectors to use any sort of violence or intimidating language.

You are also entitled to honesty from a collections agency. They must tell you the truth about who they are, the amount you owe, and the repercussions if you do not pay. They cannot lie or conceal these facts from you. If you feel that you need more information, you can send correspondence to the agency asking for more details about your debt. They cannot deny you this information.

You also have a right to dispute the debt. If you dispute it within 30 days of the first time that they contact you, then the collections agency cannot legally ask you for this payment until the dispute is settled. After 30 days, you are still entitled to dispute the debt, but they can still demand repayment in the meantime.

Speak With a Lawyer

If you’ve been contacted by a debt collector, the best thing you can do is talk to a lawyer before you make any decisions. There are several other factors to consider, including whether or not the debt is even valid. There is a statute of limitations on debt that differs between states, and there are a few other reasons why you might be able to dispute the debt altogether and win.

Your state might also offer other consumer protections that aren’t present across the country. You’ll never know unless you present your case to an attorney, or at the very least do some extensive research. Sometimes, your state attorney general has resources that are free.

Even if you can’t dispute the debt, a lawyer can help you develop a plan for speaking with the debt collector to keep your best interests in mind. They can make sure that you intimately understand your rights, but you also understand the debt collectors’ rights and the consequences if the debt goes unchecked.

While it might seem scary to face the situation head on, a professional can help ease some of the anxiety.

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