What To Understand About Debt Collection
What types of financial debts are covered under the law?
Your credit card debt, car loans, medical costs, student loans, home mortgage, and other household debts are covered under the FDCPA. Business financial debts are not.
Can debt collectors contact me at any time or place?
No. Financial debt collection agencies can't contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you accept it. They additionally can not contact you at work if you tell them you're not allowed to get telephone calls there.
Exactly how can a financial debt collection agency contact me?
Financial debt collectors can call you, or send letters, emails, or text messages to accumulate a financial debt.
How can I stop a debt collection agency from contacting me?
Mail a letter to the collection company and ask it to stop calling you. Keep a copy for yourself. Think about sending out the letter by certified mail as well as purchasing a "return invoice." By doing this, you'll have a document the collector received it. As soon as the collection company gets your letter, it can only contact you to confirm it will stop calling you in the future or to tell you it plans to take a specific action, like filing a legal action. If you're represented by a lawyer, inform the collector. The collection agency must correspond with your attorney, not you, unless the lawyer fails to respond to the collection agency's interactions within a reasonable time.
Think about speaking to the collector at least once, even if you do not believe you owe the debt or can't settle it immediately. That way, you can receive more info concerning the debt and confirm whether it's truly your own. To avoid debt collection scammers, be careful regarding sharing your individual or financial information, particularly if you're not already aware of the collection agency.
Can a debt collection agency call anyone else about my debt?
A debt collector typically can not talk about your debt with anyone but you or your partner. If an attorney is representing you, and you've told the collection agency, the financial debt collector has to contact the lawyer. A collection agency can get in touch with other people to determine your address, your home telephone number, as well as where you work, but typically can not call them more than once, and can not tell them you owe a debt.
What does the debt collection agency need to tell me regarding the financial debt?
A collection agency needs to offer you "validation info" regarding the financial debt, either during the collection agency's first call with you or in writing within five days after initially calling you. The collector has to inform you 4 pieces of info:
- How much money you owe
- The name of the lender you owe it to
- How to get the name of the original financial institution
- What to do if you don't feel it's your financial debt
Suppose I do not feel I owe the debt?
If you don't understand a debt, mail the financial debt collection agency a letter, and ask for confirmation of the debt. When you receive the recognition information, if you don't understand a debt, or do not feel the financial debt is yours, send the financial debt collector a dispute letter claiming you don't owe some or all of the money, as well as ask for confirmation of the financial debt. Make sure to send the dispute letter within 30 days. When the collection firm receives the letter, it has to stop attempting to accumulate the debt until sending you written verification of the financial debt, like a copy of the initial expense for the amount you owe. Consider sending your letter by certified mail as well as requesting a return invoice to prove that the collector got it. Maintain a copy of the letter for your records.
What are financial debt collection agencies not permitted to do?
Collectors can't harass you. As an example, collection agencies:
- Can not threaten to hurt you
- May not use obscene or profane language
- Can not repeatedly call you
Collection agencies can not lie. For instance, collectors:
- Can not tell you that you owe a different quantity than what you actually owe
- May not pretend to be an attorney or from the government
- Can not tell you that you'll be arrested, or claim they'll take legal action against you if it's not true
Collection agencies can not treat you unjustly. For example, collectors:
- Can not attempt to collect interest, fees, or various other charges in addition to the quantity you owe, unless the initial contract or a legislation claims they can
- Can not deposit a post-dated check early
- Can not openly expose your financial debts, including by sending postcards or putting info on envelopes
Can I manage which debts my payments apply to?
Yes. If a debt collection agency is trying to collect more than one debt from you, the collection agency has to use any kind of settlement you make to the debt you select. A debt collector can't apply a settlement to a financial debt you say you don't owe.
What should I do if a debt collection agency sues me?
If a financial debt collection lawsuit is submitted against you, you'll need to respond by the date specified in the court papers. And you can respond either directly or through your attorney. That will maintain your civil liberties. Don't dismiss the lawsuit. To learn more, read What To Do if a Financial Debt Collector Sues You.
Can a financial debt collection agency take money from my paycheck?
Yes, but the collection agency has to initially sue you to receive a court order-- called a garnishment-- that claims it can take money from your income to pay your debts. A collector additionally can pursue a court order to take money from your bank account. Don't ignore a lawsuit, or you might lose the chance to combat a court order.
Can my federal benefits be garnished?
If you have an unpaid debt, a financial institution or the debt collection agency it employs can get a court order to try to take money from your bank account to pay the debt. The court order is called a garnishment.
Many federal benefits are normally exempt from garnishment, except to pay delinquent tax obligations, spousal support, child support, or student loans. States have their own laws concerning which state benefits can be garnished.
Federal benefits that are generally exempt from garnishment (except to pay overdue taxes, spousal support, child support or student loans) include:
- Social Security benefits
- Supplemental Security Income benefits
- Veterans benefits
- Federal student assistance
- Army annuities and survivors' benefits
- Benefits from the Office of Personnel Management
- Railway retirement benefits
- Federal emergency disaster assistance