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End Harassment from Debt Collectors and Repair Your Credit

Mar 7, 2008
Did you lose your job? Have you suffered some form of medical emergency? Are you being forced to endure any other cause of financial burden due to your loss of income? You are not alone. Millions of people have to face the accumulation of debt that they cannot pay. Miss a single or a few payments and you can expect a not-so friendly call from a debt collector.

Receiving such a call at your workplace can be quite inappropriate and worst of all, utterly humiliating. Some debt collectors will hunt you down until you pay up.

Debt collectors are generally compassionate to individual situations on a personal level, but they have to disengage themselves from this level to focus on what their job entails. It is no surprise that anyone who is deep in debt fears the rather ambitious debt collectors. Frequently, debt collectors are rewarded for successfully collecting debt payments. Their commission is based on the acquired payment amount. Consequently, the greater payment collected; the greater their reward.

Rights of a Debt Collector

It is legal for debt collectors to contact you by phone, fax, mail, telegram and in person. They may contact you at home and in your workplace, but are restricted to if they are informed that your employer prohibits it. They should not be contacting you before 8am or after 9pm unless you have clearly given them permission to do so.

Unless you don't have one, debt collectors should be contacting your attorney. Debt collectors are also allowed to find out necessary information about you through other people. They are allowed to obtain your telephone number, place of employment, or address from anyone. However, they are normally not permitted to divulge confidential information to these people, such as the fact that you owe them money. Debt collectors are allowed to contact these people only once.

I Want Them to Stop Contacting Me!

You can choose not to be contacted further by debt collectors, whether you owe money or not. This can be achieved by writing them a letter informing them that you no longer want them to contact you. They may then get in touch with you one last time to state that they will no longer contact you, or to explain the appropriate actions that may be taken against you.

Putting an end to these exasperating calls will not automatically settle your debt payments. If you firmly believe that the debt has already been cleared or you do not owe them money, make sure to state it clearly in your letter.

Your Rights Against Harassment

Consumers are protected by the Fair Debt Collection policy implemented by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Knowing your rights will keep even the most determined debt collector at a distance.

Debt collectors are prohibited from harassing individuals. They are not allowed to abuse, nor oppress you or anyone they might be able to use in order to get to you. Harassment generally includes the use of obscene language, non-stop calling or threats of violence.

Debt collectors who are falsely representing themselves are breaking the law. They should not misrepresent themselves as government agents or attorneys. They cannot say they are representing a credit bureau if that isn't the actual case. If they are not sending any legal documents, they should not indicate that they are. They may not accuse you of crime if you did not commit a crime. Additionally, unless they have been legally instructed to, they are not allowed to seize property, withhold your income, nor imply legal action to be taken against you.

If you would like to know more about your rights, you can get all the information you need from the FTC. If you would like to report an agent, this can also be done by contacting the FTC, or your state's Attorney General. Furthermore, if what they are doing is illegal then you have every right to sue.
About the Author
Gene Pimentel is the author of "Identity Theft Trap" and other informative personal finance publications, freely available at his resource site
JustCreditReports.com and IdentityTheftTrap.com.
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