Debt collection practices are regulated by federal and state laws
The basic principal of fair debt collection is that a consumer who does not owe a debt should not be harassed with collection phone calls or letters. Even if a consumer owes a debt, state and federal law recognize that collectors cannot engage in deceptive, harassing, or unfair debt collection practices.
In general, debt collectors may not engage in:
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) The placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller’s identity.
Preserve whatever evidence you have. Take notes of the conversation. Make sure you write down the name of the collection agency, law firm, or debt buyer that is calling you. Make sure you get whatever information you have on the name of the individual calling you. Write this down with the date and time of the call. Never throw away evidence. What may seem like trash to you, may be evidence to your attorney. Keep any notes given to you by family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors who took the call. Preserve any recordings left on your voice answering system. If you recorded the phone call do not destroy it. Often, debt collectors will claim that they never said the things you accuse them of – this recording is the best evidence you can have.
Absolutely do not give out bank account information over the phone, and do not authorize post dated checks. Any collector who will take payment only by these methods are to be viewed with the utmost suspicion. Many people have paid money only to find out they were scammed.
Do not give out other information such as your social security number; you may become the target of identity theft. Why would a legitimate collector need such information?
If you are not allowed calls at work and they are calling you at work, tell them that you are NOT ALLOWED to receive calls at work. Asking them to not call you at work may not be legally sufficient. Tell them you are NOT ALLOWED calls at work.
Contact us to schedule a consultation or submit our free online case evaluation request at once if you feel that you are being threatened, abused or harassed, or have been scammed. Even if you have already been “taken” does not mean we cannot help. We have recovered a lot of money for people who have paid because of unlawful debt collection practices.