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How To Deal With A Collection Agency

Generally speaking most collections agencies follow federal guidelines established under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. What this means is that they are only legally able to talk to the responsible party for the outstanding debt and only under certain conditions. For the most part consumers can deal with collection agencies on their own if they understand what protections are afforded them but under some circumstances they may need to retain legal counsel to protect your rights.

The FDCPA provides guidelines which licensed debt collection agencies must follow when collecting an outstanding debt. This includes only being able to call or contact the responsible party between certain hours of the day and not consecutive days as to avoid harassment. They are also legally not able to use threatening, vulgar or intimidating language or tactics when collecting an outstanding debt. They are also not legally able to threaten lawsuit unless it is eminently on the horizon. They also are unable to contact coworkers, employers, friends or family and divulge the outstanding debt in an attempt to collect payment.

Most collection agencies are reputable and follow these guidelines but rogue agencies will use all of these tactics and more without fear of repercussions. In these situations it is advisable to seek legal counsel as they will file a cease-and-desist letter which will be served to the collection agency. It is specifically outlined that a collection agency will cease all communication with a debtor if it is known they are represented by legal counsel. But even if they choose not to cease communication more than likely they will have to seek their own legal counsel at which point their lawyer will advise them to cease all communication.

Retaining legal counsel is normally a last resort reserved for dealing with third-party collection agencies who try to fly under the radar and are often the most aggressive. Filing a civil lawsuit should always be a matter of last resort but that option is available for dealing with a collection agency should the need arise. Knowledge of the law is your best defense when dealing with a collection agency so be sure to thoroughly read the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for your state to make sure you are protected. Individual states will sometimes add additional protective measures for people being harassed by collection agencies so you actually may have more protection than as outlined in the FDCPA. Knowing your rights involving a collections agency will all go a long way to stopping harassment and aggressive collection tactics.