Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on all the rules written by the FDCPA to stop debt collectors from ruining people’s lives with dirty tactics. Every one of these rules was written to protect you and others like you from harassment and you have the legal right to defend yourself. If a debt collector has broken even one of these rules, you have grounds to sue. Last time we covered everything from daylight call times to abusive language. Let’s pick back up where we left off at financial privacy.
Talking to Anyone Other Than You, Your Spouse, or Your Attorney
Debt collectors are not allowed to approach your friends, coworkers, employees, children, or parent except to politely ask for your contact information. They are not allowed to speak in detail to anyone who does not legally represent you personally which means no one but you, your legal spouse, and your hired attorney. If they do, they have violated your privacy and the FDCPA at the same time and can be brought to heel.
Contacting Through Public Media
Sometimes they will try to get around the ‘contact only you’ rule by calling you at work or posting their messages in a public forum like your social media page. The regulations have adapted to this underhanded tactic to embarrass debt collection targets and now this method is not allowed either.
Falsifying Your Credit Report
Debt collectors have a certain amount of access to your credit report in terms of submitting the facts about your current debts. However, some have tried to literally financially cripple their targets by artificially lowering their credit scores with false or inflated debt reports. This is very very illegal.
Contacting You If…
There are also a number of circumstances in which debt collectors have to stop contacting you entirely. Knowing what they are can either save you weeks of harassing phone calls or provide you more than enough proof to sue the debt collectors for FDCPA violations and harassment.
Your employer has prohibited calls at work
Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at work if your employer has prohibited it. You are allowed to ask your employer to deliver the prohibition.
You have said that you don’t intend to pay the debt
There is only one reason for debt collectors to call you, to get you to pay the debt. If you clearly and unmistakably say that you don’t intend to, they have to stop calling and their only remaining recourse is to sue you or not.
You have demanded debt verification and have not yet received it
Debt verification is when you demand to see proof that the debt being collected exists and is the legitimate amount and has been legally sold to the collection agency. They have 30 days to provide this information and between your demand and getting the verification, they cannot call you.
You have requested to no longer be contacted
You don’t actually have to resolve the debt issue to stop being contacted alltogether. All you have to do is request that they never contact you again. While the debt collectors still have a few other ways to try and make collections, this should prevent them from calling or emailing. Make sure you have proof that you requested that they stop so that when they don’t, you can use it in court.
You have declared bankruptcy
Finally, if you have legally declared that you have no money to pay debts with, all debtors have to quit and go home including debt collectors. If they don’t quit at that point, they also don’t understand the phrase “you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip” and you can sue them.
Suing Your Debt Collectors
Now comes the best part. If you have managed to collect several points of proof that the debt collectors harassing you have broken the rules of the FDCPA, you can sue them before they get the chance to sue you. Many people who have been through the harrowing experience of repeated calls, attempts to embarrass, and credit score destruction are eager for a chance to hit back at bullies who specialize in kicking people when they’re financially down.
Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we specialize in exactly the opposite: Defending normal people from employers, consumer fraud, and abusive debt collection agencies. If you need help defending your financial and employment rights from harassing debt collectors, contact us today. We’re here to help.