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Debt Collectors:  Who They Are & What They Can and Cannot Do

One of the most difficult aspects of having bad credit is dealing with debt collectors and collection agencies.  Debt collectors and collection agencies, in fact, can be the worst aspect of having bad credit for many, many people.  With this in mind, this article is created to help you deal with debt collectors an collection agencies today and in the future.  By understanding how to deal with debt collectors, you will be better able to handle matters relating to bad credit.

What is  Debtor?

Any loan or debt that you have, such as credit cards, medical bills, personal loans that you are paying on, you are known as the “debtor.”  If you become delinquent in paying these obligations then a “debt collector” will most likely contact you.

Understanding the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act

It is important for you to know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of debt collection.  The law does not however, erase any legitimate debt that you owe.  Here are some of the most important things to know regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Personal, family and household debts are covered under the Act such as the purchase of a vehicle, medical debt or charge cards.


How a Debt Collector Can Contact You

A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, telephone or fax but they are not to contact you at inconvenient times or places.  Contacting you before 8 am or after 9 pm is not allowed and they are not allowed to contact you at work.  You can also stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a request to them and telling them to stop.  This does not make the debt go away but it will stop them from harassing you.

What if You Have an Attorney?

If you have an attorney, the debt collector must contact the attorney, rather than you. If you do not have an attorney, a collector may contact other people, but only to find out where you live, what your phone number is, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting such third parties more than once. 

What a Debt Collector Must Do

Within five days after you are first contacted, the collector must send you a written notice telling you the amount of money you owe; the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money; and what action to take if you believe you do not owe the money.

A collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you receive the written notice, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.

Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact, use threats or obscene language while seeking to resolve your debt.