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What is Fair and What is Not When it Comes to Debt Collecting?


You’ve been getting those annoying phone calls from the people you owe money too. You don’t have the money. You’re out of work or you took a pay cut. If you had it, you’d pay it. Now you have to listen to these people threaten you? Are they allowed to do this? Well, yes and no. It all depends. There are rules they must adhere to when calling to collect a debt. Here are things they cannot do.

1. Threatening to take legal action unless you are actually intending to do so is illegal. This includes lawsuits, wage garnishment, damaging credit rating, and property repossession. So if you are being threatened with those, you probably want to take it seriously.

2. Contacting someone other than the debt holder or cosigner. This happens all the time. They call friends, relatives, co-workers, people you went to high school with, etc. If you get one of these calls from a collector looking for a friend, you may want to remind them of this.

3. Mislead the consumer about the amount of the debt.

4. Calling before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM. This is a no-no.

5. If they call the debtor at work, they may not tell his/her employer why they are calling until asked.

6. Making misleading statements claiming to be from a government agency with a court order or subpoena for example.

7. Making any type of slur or inappropriate comments either in verbal or written form.

8. Making the individual think he has committed some type of crime in not paying his debts.

9. Pretending to be conducting a survey in order to gather information.

10. Taking you to court far away from your home.

11. Charging interest or fees not allowed by the state.

12. Calling at inconvenient places the individual has asked them not to call such as work, church, school.

13. Making physical threats to harm the individual unless they pay.

14. Publishing the names of people who are in debt (other than reporting to a credit agency)

15. Using a false company name when trying to collect a debt.

16. Depositing a post dated check early in an effort to get the check to bounce.

17. Providing incorrect information about a person to someone else.

18. Contacting via a post card.

So a debt collector cannot harass you by calling you over and over, calling your family members, threatening you, or misleading you into thinking you could be in legal trouble if you do not pay. How do you get them to stop calling? Either settle the debt, or write a letter telling them to stop. At that point their only recourse is to either write it off, or sue you. Either way the thing will be settled and the phone calls will stop.


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