Debt Collection – Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered
Here are your most Frequently Asked Questions about debt collection and the answers to them. The responses are based on the rights included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Is my debt collector allowed to call at any time? No. Debt collectors are only allowed to call between 8am to 9pm. Calling before 8am or after 9pm is prohibited unless with your consent.
Is it okay to leave messages on my answering machine? A collector can leave his name and contact number on your answering machine. However, he should not discuss any information about your debt unless you’re available to take the call. If you don’t want your debt collector to leave messages when you’re not home, you can tell them to stop.
Is it okay to submit partial payments? Some debt collectors may refuse to accept partial payments. However, if you don’t have the money to pay your entire debt, send in your partial payments. If your debt collectors still demands a lump sum and sends your money back, keep proof of your payments for references. In case your debt collector files a law suit against you, this would prove that you never attempt to default on your debts.
Can a debt collector threaten you about a legal law case or repossession? There are debt collectors who may resort to false threats to impose fear on a borrower. If such claims are found to be untrue, you can report them for violation of the FDCPA.
Should you put up with verbal abuse or harassment? Certainly not! Even if you owe a lender, you still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Debt collectors should never use abusive languages, foul words, or any form of harassment to force anyone to pay.
Can a debt collector continue to contact you after you told them not to? If you want debt collection activities to stop, you can send a letter to your debt collector and inform them of your wishes. However, keep in mind that stopping an agency’s debt collection activities does not exempt you from your responsibility to make repayment. Even if the collection has been stopped, you should take the initiative to submit your payments at the soonest possible time.
What can I do if a lender collects debts I don’t owe? Under the FDCPA, consumers have the right to dispute billing charges if they think it’s incorrect. As soon as you received your bill, send a dispute letter (via registered mail) to your creditor. They should immediately stop with their collection attempts and begin an investigation about the issue. A creditor has 30 days to set the matters straight. Meanwhile, debt collection should be put to a stop.
Remember, if your creditor or debt collector is guilty of a violation of the rights listed in the FDCPA, don’t hesitate to report them to the Attorney General’s Office of your State and file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).