Log InJoin 

Free Creative Commons Images

Similar Articles

Random Articles

Stop Collection Agency Harassment

Collection agency harassment can be a big problem and severely affect an individual's quality of life and their ability to carry out day-to-day activities. The key to stopping this type of harassment is understanding your rights under the law and being on equal footing with collection agencies. On September 30, 1996, Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also known as the FDCPA. This law provides specific guidelines which must be followed in the collection of debt and failure to do so exposes an organization to lawsuits possible government fines.

Before the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collection agencies would harass and abuse debtors by threatening physical violence or having them arrested. In some corners of the collections industry these practices still continue and the more informed consumers are about their rights more likely they are to stand up for themselves by recording phone calls and filing lawsuits against rogue agencies. The FDCPA clearly outlines what a collection agency must do to stay within the law when collecting on outstanding debts.

Often a collection agency will obtain a group of outstanding accounts from a business or other creditor of which they are supposed to collect payment. Under this type of scenario they will normally be paid a percentage of the amount collected from the debtor but not technically own the accounts out right. Sometimes unscrupulous collection agencies will threaten to sue a debtor if they fail to pay the account in full or make arrangements to do so even though they technically do not have legal standing. What that means is that they don't own the debt and therefore do not have a legal right to make a claim on the remaining debt. Unfortunately, simply the threat of a lawsuit will force individuals to come up with money they may not have for fear of being sued. This unfortunately encourages bad collection agencies to continue to act badly.

Other illegal practices include calling when they're not allowed to and question someone they are not authorized to speak with about the debt. By law the collection agency must contact a debtor between hours of 8 AM and 9 PM. Contacting a debtor before or after these times is considered harassment. Collection agencies are also not allowed to speak with individuals who are not authorized third parties or the original debtor as well as not allowed to contact an individual work if they've been requested not to do so. Furthermore it is illegal for a collection agent to misrepresent their position of authority by claiming to be law enforcement when collecting on a debt. As you can see there are numerous consumer protections in the FDCPA and the more individuals know of their rights the better they are able to protect themselves from unscrupulous collection agencies.

If an individual's financial situation has unfortunately deteriorated to the point of bankruptcy, often this involves the retaining legal counsel. Should a lawyer be hired, it is important to inform all outstanding debt holders of this new development and provide the lawyer's name, address and phone number. This is important because once an organization or collection agency has informed that council has been retained they must stop all communication with the debtor. It is also recommended to protect yourself by recording phone calls and taking extensive notes of who you spoke with when they called and from what number. This information may be necessary should the need arise the file a lawsuit do harassment or other illegal practices by the collection agency.

It is possible to stop collection agency harassment but requires consumers to be well informed of their rights under the FDCPA and take steps to protect themselves from harassment or other illegal practices. Most collection agencies obey the law and much prefer to work with consumers when collecting on outstanding debt. They will often use incentive programs such as waiving fees and interest or putting the debtor on a payment plan to get current on the outstanding balance. If however you encounter an unscrupulous collection agency, keep track of all communications as this will be important in not only a future lawsuit but hopefully by telling them directly what they're doing is illegal and to stop. Consumers have as much if not more power than collection agencies and education and experience will go a long way in protecting your rights.