Your Debt Collection Rights
Ever since the Great Recession started, Americans have struggled to come up with enough money to pay the bills. This means that more consumers than ever before are falling prey to unscrupulous debt collectors, who will go to any length to get folks to pay up.
If you’re receiving debt collection letters or debt collection agency phone calls, it’s imperative that you understand your debt collection rights. Knowledge is power, and when you know the difference between legal and illegal debt collector behavior, you can draw a line in the sand and let debt collection agencies know that they can’t browbeat or threaten you.
The primary law that protects you is the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Originally enacted in 1978, the FDCPA outlines exactly what debt collectors and debt collection agencies can and cannot do in an attempt to collect a debt. It also outlines your right to dispute a debt, and the responsibility of the debt collector to prove that the debt is yours to pay.
Here’s what you need to know about your rights under the FDCPA:
- The FDCPA covers third-party debt collectors and debt buyers. It doesn’t cover original creditors. In other words, the FDCPA doesn’t apply to original creditors when their employees are trying to collect the debt. However, it does apply when those you owe money to hire an outside company to collect on their behalf, or when a company that purchased your debt from the original (or subsequent) creditor tries to collect.
- The FDCPA says that debt collectors can’t harass you, embarrass you, threaten you, or mislead you. Review our checklist of debt collector violations to see if your rights have been violated.
- Within five days of first calling you, the debt collector must send you a notice in the mail. This notice must contain the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, and a statement notifying you of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.
- You have 30 days from the day you receive the debt collection notice to dispute the debt. If you don’t dispute the debt, the debt collector has the right to assume the debt is valid.
- You have the right to ask a debt collector to stop contacting you. If you don’t want to receive debt collection calls and letters, you can send the debt collector a cease and desist letter. Once the collection agency receives your letter, they must not contact you again, unless it is to tell you that they are no longer trying to collect the debt or that they are taking legal action against you.
Remember, the Debt Bulldogs at Lemberg & Associates can get the debt collection calls to stop, and represent you in federal court if you choose to sue a debt collection agency that violates your rights. Our services won’t cost you a dime, and you could recover up to $1,000. Simply complete the form to the right or call 617-366-1000.
Lemberg & Associates’ team
of consumer attorneys is highly
skilled and ready to help you
with debt collector abuse.
If you have been the victim of harassment or illegal or unfair debt collection practices, Lemberg & Associates will discuss your options with you and protect your rights. For more information, contact Lemberg & Associates today at (617) 366-1000.
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"The FDCPA is a consumer protection statute and was intended to permit, even encourage, attorneys like Lemberg to act as private attorney generals to pursue FDCPA claims."
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