There are times when we fall behind on the bills. Sometimes a big emergency hits and we have to choose where the money will go. Other times we carelessly spend and we end up not having enough to make ends meet. No matter what the cause, many people throughout the world end up in debt at some point in their life. When they fall behind on that debt, the debt collectors may start calling. Here is a quick rundown of your rights, and your responsibilities.
What Can a Debt Collector Pursue?
The collector is not limited just to loans that you took out. In fact, any time that you owe money to anyone, you can be sent to collections if you fall behind. Most companies will be courteous enough to warn you that you are being turned over, to give you adequate time to pay your bills. But sometimes you will just get a notice in the mail that says you are now being collected upon. The collections agency can pursue payment for any of these items:
Unpaid utility payments
Unpaid credit cards
Late mortgage payments
Late student loan payments
Late personal or auto loan payments
Unpaid invoices or bills
Anything where you owe money to someone else
There is no set limit on the amount that a collector can pursue. So if you owe just $20, you may be sent to collections (although most agencies wont waste their time on something so small).
What Are Your Rights as a Debtor?
Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act protects those who owe money. By giving rights to the debtor, and imposing strict rules on those who are collecting, you can feel confident that your personal life is being protected, even if you owe money.
As a debtor you can rest assured that legally a debt collector may not:
Call outside the hours of 8AM and 9PM
Call you at work if you have told them not to
Contact anyone else regarding your debt (other than your attorney)
Contact you if they have received, in writing, that you have hired an attorney
Use verbally aggressive language (obscene or profane)
Harass or threaten you
Threaten arrest if you dont pay
Many more (read up about them on the FTC page)
If you owe money, and the debt collector that is pursuing you has broken any of these rules, you can fight back. Enlist the help of an attorney to bring your experience to a close.
Hiring a Debt Collections Attorney
Hiring an attorney to help with your debt collection dilemma is the best step you can take. By enlisting their help you make sure to keep the collectors at bay, and if the harassment is bad enough you may even be off the hook for your debt. Your first step is to contact a debt collections attorney today for your free initial consultation.