It’s 8:00am on Saturday morning and you are looking forward to sleeping in. Suddenly you are awakened by the telephone ringing. You answer the phone only to be greeted by, “Is this….” it is a debt collector. As you wipe your eyes, the debt collector begins to telling you “This is a an attempt to collect a debt, any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”
Most debt collectors are very good at informing consumers that they are attempting to collect a debt, how much the alleged debt is, and telling you to pay up. But there are things you need to know that a debt collector won’t tell you. Knowledge is power. A debt collector won’t tell you:
You do not have to disclose personal information such as place of employment, banking information, and sources of income.
You can prevent debt collectors from calling you by notifying them in writing to stop calling you. Once the debt collector recieves written notice they can only contact you to tell you they won’t call you anymore or to notify you what actions they may take such as filing a lawsuit.
You may be “judgment proof” or “execution proof”. If you are unable to meet your current living expenses or you recieve certain types of income they cannot collect from you.
They are attempting to collect on a debt that is past the statute of limitations. If you make a payment, you renew the debt.
They may not report to the credit bureaus. Not all collection companies report the credit bureaus.
Debt collectors cannot call you before 8:00am or after 9:00pm,. This time is based upon your local time not theirs.
Debt collectors cannot use profane or abusive language.
You can report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov),
It is imparative that you familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law protects consumers against unfair debt collection practices.
That you may be able to settle with the debt for pennies on the dollar.
That medical collections should not appear on your credit report due to current privacy laws. Your medical information is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Knowing your rights is the first step to dealing with any debt collector. Familiarize yourself with the FDCPA and other consumer protection laws by visiting www.ftc.gov,