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Debt Collections

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act applies to those who collect debts owed to creditors for personal, family and household debts. These include car loans, mortgages, charge accounts and money owed for medical bills. A debt collector is someone hired to collect money you owe.

Within five days after a debt collector first contacts you, the collector must send you a notice that tells you the name of the creditor, how much you owe, and what action to take if you believe you don’t owe the money.

If you owe the money or part of it, contact the creditor to arrange for payment.

If You Believe You Don’t Owe the Money

Contact the creditor in writing and send a copy to the collection agency with a letter telling them not to contact you. A debt collector may not:

  • Contact you at unreasonable times, for example, before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree.
  • Contact you at work if you tell the debt collector your employer disapproves
  • Contact you after you write a letter telling them to stop, except to notify you if the collector or creditor plans to take a specific action.
  • Contact your friends, relatives, employer or others, except to find out where you live and work.
  • Harass you through threats to harm you, profane language or repeated telephone calls.
  • Make any false statement, or claim that you will be arrested..
  • Threaten to have money deducted from your paycheck or sue you, unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so and it is legal.

To file a complaint, contact your state or local consumer protection agency and the Federal Trade Commission’s website ¬†or (877) FTC-HELP (877) 382-4357.

Source: Federal Citizen Information Center