Collection Agency Harassment - What are Your Rights?

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Introduction

You allegedly owe money, and a debt collector or collection agency is calling you night and day. In the past, Debt Collectors could legally behave in very egregious behavior, but legislation has changed that. In this situation, it is important you know your legal rights. Collection Agencies Are Not Allowed to: -Call your office; -Call your home before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.; -Address you in an abusive manner; -Call family or friends in an attempt to collect your debt; -Harass you; -Make false or misleading statements; or -Add unauthorized charges. If any of the above is happening to you, tell the collection agency to stop harassing you. If it continues, ask for its name and address and report it to the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission (see below), or your state's attorney general's office. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") also states that you can demand that the collection agency stop contacting you, except to tell you that collection efforts have ended or that the creditor or collection agency will sue you. However, you must put your request in writing. A person can bring a legal action against a collector under the FDCPA for each violation and be awarded damages and attorney fees/costs. Your home state may also have statutes that govern debt collecting. Please note: The FDCPA applies only to bill collectors who work for collection agencies, not the original creditors. You will not be able to get the collection department in your credit card company to stop calling you with a letter. Only New York City has a local consumer protection law that requires the original creditor to stop calling you after a written request to do so.

Additional Resources

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf Federal Trade Commission - Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm

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