Illegal And Abusive Collection Practices
The Following Are Considered Abusive And Illegal Collection Practices:
- Collectors cannot call you at unreasonable hours: The law presumes that 8:00 am -9:00 pm is reasonable. Any time outside this range is presumed to be unreasonable and therefore unlawful in most states.
- Collectors cannot call you at work, so long as you first inform them that your employer does not permit personal phone calls.
- Collectors cannot communicate with other people about your debt or even that you owe a debt – while they can look for you – they cannot mention or imply that it is about a debt owed.
- Collectors cannot threaten to sue you or take other legal action (like repossession or wage garnishment) unless they actually intend on doing so. (Also known as the “put-up or shut-up rule)
- Collectors cannot engage in “harassment” in order to collect a debt. The following prohibited conduct has been considered harassment per se in most states:
- Cannot threaten you that your credit will be ruined if you fail to pay your debt.
- Cannot threaten harm in any way– either directly or indirectlyCannot use profanity
- Cannot call you repeatedly (As of July 2015, almost all states prohibit more than once a day)
- Cannot give the false impression that you are speaking with a lawyer. Similarly, they cannot send you a letter that falsely gives the impression it’s from a law office.
- Cannot request that you write a post-dated check. (A five-day post is allowed in some states)
- Cannot falsely insinuate that by not paying your debt you have committed a crime. (Being delinquent on a debt is not a criminal offense)
- Cannot communicate with you if you have referred them to your attorney and have given them the name, address and phone number of the attorney.Cannot communicate with you by postcard.
- Cannot make false threats of suit or legal action without actually taking that action.
How To Report A Debt Collector For Violations?
Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.