Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Out of Control Debt Collectors: What you need to know

Millions of Americans are suffering under the duress of debt with little relief until and unless they are in a position to file for bankruptcy.

In the meantime, debt collectors oftentimes go way out of bounds in an effort to collect what they perceive they are owed. There are rules about how collectors must behave, and here are a few things you need to know about what collectors are not allowed to do:

Collectors may not:

  • send you mail that appears to be official or legal documentation,
  • tell you that you may be imprisoned or otherwise detained because of your debt,
  • tell you they can come take your property to pay the debt,
  • call or otherwise get in touch with third parties (with the exception of your attorney, the initial creditor to which you owed, or the credit bureaus,
  • call you identifying themselves as an entity other than a collector,
  • call you all day long everyday,
  • tack on additional fees they call "interest" when in fact it is not,

And perhaps most importantly, they cannot call you ridiculously early or ridiculously late -- calls must be between the hours of 8AM and 9PM.

If during a call with a collector you are spoken to harshly, or the agent uses foul language or shouts at you, this is also against the law.

If you have experienced any of the above you may contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), at -- and of course, let your bankruptcy attorney know if you have been a victim of collector harassment.

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