Defending Yourself Against Debt Collectors
Financial difficulties and falling behind in monthly payments is stressful. Being hounded by credit collection agencies is an added aggravation. These calls can come in at all hours of the day and night, and often involve threats such as repossessing your property, garnishing your accounts, or taking other legal actions. In some situations, you may be receiving these calls mistakenly, through a cell phone number reassigned from someone else. In either situation, there are tools to help you defend yourself against debt collection harassment, and you could be entitled to compensation as a result.
Dealing With Calls from Credit Collection Agencies
Consumers are protected against harassment and deceptive practices on the part of credit collectors by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), administered through the Federal Trade Commision (FTC). The Act prohibits these agencies from doing the following:
- Calling between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.;
- Contacting you at work when instructed not to;
- Using friends or neighbors in an attempt to reach you;
- Threatening legal actions, such as lawsuits or arrests, which they are not authorized to take.
If you receive collection calls regarding past due payments and debts, you have the right to request the company stop contacting you immediately. The FTC advises requesting the collection agency’s contact information, along with a written validation notice regarding any amounts owed. Draft a letter stating you no longer wish to receive communications via the telephone, and send it to the company via certified mail, return receipt requested. If they continue to contact you or use your cell phone number, they may be in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Collection agencies may be ordered to pay $500 per call to the consumer for violating this Act, and up to $1,500 per call if the agency acted willfully and with knowledge that the call was a violation.
Harassed By Wrong Numbers?
In some cases, you may receive debt collection or telemarketing calls on a cell phone number that was previously assigned to someone else. In these circumstances, it is important to do the following:
- Jot down the date and time of the call;
- Get the name of the collection agency and the company they represent;
- Inform them that they have the wrong number and that you do not wish to receive further calls.
Any continuing contact is in violation of the TCPA and could entitle you to compensation. To speak with our Chicago TCPA and debt harassment attorney to discuss the details of your case, call or contact Keogh Law, LTD online and request a consultation today.