- By Macon Gravlee
- Law and Law Enforcement
First and foremost, you should understand that the Consumer Protection Act protects you against not only your creditors but also the debt collectors at the State Level. A collection agency is prevented from calling you at odd hours, and more than twice in a period of 7 days when they are calling your home. If they are trying to reach you by another location apart from your home, they can only call you twice in a period of 30 days.
When they call, they MUST reveal their true identity and the name of the creditor — their employer whom they are collecting the debt for. As mentioned, the Acts prohibits them from calling at odd hours. They are only allowed to call at a time when it is expected you should be awake. If they don’t possess specific information on your wake and sleep schedule, they should only call between 8a.m. and 9p.m.
The other right as a debtor that you have is that your creditors are not supposed to charge you any costs incurred for long distance phone calls or such like costs incurred when conducting you. If you ask your creditors and collectors not to call your work place, they shouldn’t do so. An oral order not to call your workplace remains in effect for up to 10 days while a written order of the same and sent within the 7 days of the oral order remains in effect until you write again to annul it.
If you inform the collection agency or your creditor that they should only deal with your lawyer, the law prohibits them from making any direct contact with you. When making a visit, they are only allowed to do so at your convenience, a time when you are awake, between 8a.m. and 9p.m. Still on point, they can only visit you once every 30 days for each debt owed, unless you permit them to make frequent visits. Collectors are not allowed to use any false threats of legal action or use obscenities/profanities when communicating with you.
Your privacy should be respected by both debt collectors and your creditors. They are not allowed to send you collection notices in a way that openly displays or suggests that you owe them any money. For instance, they aren’t supposed to send you a postcard that can openly be read by anyone or indicating their return address on an envelope addressed to you that clearly indicates you owe them money and they are trying to recover it. They are legally barred from discussing your financial status with anyone else; be it your employer, neighbor or even a relative.
There are some extra rules applicable only to debt collectors and not creditors at the federal level. For instance, a debt collector has to verify that you do owe the money they have been appointed to recover. In case you write to them within 30 days of their first communication to you and state clearly that you don’t owe the money, they have to cease from contacting you until they send you a copy of proof of the debt before they proceed with debt collection.
You are allowed to prevent a debt collector from contacting you by asking them in writing to stop any further communication. The only further contact they should make is to inform you that they have stopped contacting you. However, they can contact you if they are taking any further action, say by suing you.