With the economy in the state that it is in today, many individuals are having their first dealings with a debt collection agency. Whether it is because an income earner in the household has lost their job, work hours have been cut, or interest rate increases has made it difficult to pay their bills, these first encounters with a representative from a collection agency can be a frightening and distressing event. There are some rules that all collection agencies must follow when dealing with an individual that has a delinquent account.
Collection Agencies Cannot Misrepresent Who They Are.
A collection agency is forbidden to misrepresent who they are by claiming to be an attorney or from the credit bureau. They also cannot misrepresent documents sent to the individual as legal documents if they are not actual legal documents. In all dealings with the individual, they must state who they are and why they are contacting the individual.
Collection Agencies Cannot Be Verbally Abusive.
Collection agency representatives are prohibited from using obscene or profane language when talking to the individual about the debts that that the agency is alleging is owed. They are also prohibited from threatening violence or harm to the individual as a result of the debt not being paid. Collection agency representatives also cannot state that the individual will be arrested for not paying the debt.
Collection Agencies Must Provide Written Documentation Of Debt.
If a collection agency representative contacts the individual to tell the individual that the individual owes money to the company, within five days of the initial contact, the collection agency representative must send a written notice describing the debt, listing the amount owed, and disclosing the steps that can be taken by the individual if they believe that they do not owe the debt.
Collection Agencies Must Respect Your Workplace.
The actions of the collection agency are not allowed to interfere with the individual’s employment and this includes calling the individual at work when their boss disapproves of the contact. If a collection agency repeatedly contacts the individual at work knowing that it could affect their employment, they could face sanctions from the Federal Trade Commission.
Collection Agencies Cannot Contact You At All Hours.
Collection agencies are not allowed to contact individuals after 9 o’clock at night or before 8 o’clock in the morning. Collection agencies must follow these time guidelines unless permission is given by the individual that they would like to be contacted outside of these times.
You Can Request That The Collection Agency Cease Contact.
People that are being contacted by aggressive collection agency representatives repeatedly can have the contact stopped by submitting a written request to the collection agency requesting that they stop all contact. Once the request has been received by the collection agency, they cannot contact the individual for any reason other than to tell the individual that their letter has been received and they will no longer contact the individual. Stopping the collection agency from contacting you does not erase the debt that is owed and the collection agency may decide to sue you in court to recoup the funds that they are owed since they now have no other way of obtaining a payment from you.