Being Threatened By a Debt Collector Is No Joke. Do You Know Your Rights?

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Debt collection parameters vary from state to state, so it's in your best interest to know your rights.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently reported than 1 in 4 consumers felt threatened when contacted by debt collectors. They experience collectors calling too often, at odd hours, and warnings of jail time and other frightening threats. Some were being hounded for debts they did not even owe! Many complained that the collectors ignored requests to stop contacting them.

Sarah Skidmore Sell, of the Associated Press says that although the Bureau is working on stopping abuse, there are some things you need to know.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects those being pursued for personal debts on a credit card, auto loan or mortgage. Business debt is not covered.

Collectors must abide by rules in contacting you via phone, text, email, or letter. It is illegal for them to hide their identity, or pretend to be someone else in order to harass, threaten or deceive you in any way.

Contacts may not occur at inconvenient times like early mornings or late at night, or at work, if you’ve told them not to. Federal law limits the number of calls a collector can place, and forbids the use of obscene language and any threats of violence in the form of harassment, oppression or abuse.

Collectors cannot lie or misrepresent themselves or the amount you owe. They are not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney unless seeking information about you, such as a telephone number or your whereabouts.

Debt collection parameters vary from state to state, so contact your attorney general’s office for help, especially if you feel threatened. Abuse should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Now, on a more pleasant note. I recommend that you subscribe to our daily devotional called God is Faithful. We will send a short devotional to your inbox with Biblical financial insights and tips to keep you encouraged on your financial journey. 

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