Perhaps you lost your job, got divorced, or experienced a serious illness or injury. Maybe you got into a financial bind and continued to incur debt in order to keep your head above water, and over time, the situation got out of control. No matter how you ended up with an overwhelming amount of debt, the result is the same -- debt collectors are calling you constantly.
The people on the other end of those phone calls tend to make you feel as though you are powerless, and the only way to stop the calls is to pay what they say you owe. Did you know that isn't quite accurate? You have more control than you think.
Enter the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
You may have heard about the FDCPA but may not know how powerful it makes you when it comes to those nagging and harassing debt collection calls. Here are the rules that those callers must abide by:
- If you don't want them calling you at work, you can say so, and they must stop.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
- They cannot talk to third parties about your debt. Third parties include your family members, friends and employer.
- If you already hired an attorney to help you with your debt issues, those calling to collect a debt must speak to your attorney instead of you.
- If you don't want them calling you at all, you can request it, but you must do so in writing.
- Debt collectors cannot use abusive or harassing tactics to attempt to coerce you to pay the debt.
- They cannot mislead you, deceive you, falsely represent themselves or otherwise lie to you.
- You may also ask for validating information of the debt.
Debt collectors will not tell you that you have these rights. Instead, they will continue to call you as often, whenever and wherever they can until you tell them to stop. Of course, exercising your rights and making them abide by the law does not mean that you no longer owe the debt they call about. You will still need to address any valid debt you owe.
More than likely, you have done all you can alone. You would probably benefit from scheduling a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in order to examine your financial situation and explore all of the debt relief options available to you, which will often include filing for bankruptcy.