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Your Rights and Debt Collection

Aug 17, 2007
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires that debt collectors treat you fairly and prohibits certain methods of collection. Debt collector as defined by FDCPA; "Any person that is into the business or who regularly collects or attempts to collect debts is a debt collector". The FDCPA was passed because of abusive, deceptive and unfair debt collection practices. The FDCPA covers:

1.what debts are covered
2.how debt collectors may contact you
3.how to stop a debt collector from contacting you
4.who else and how a debt collector may contact about your debt
5.what you must be told about the debt
6.types of debt collection practices are prohibited
7.what control you have over payments
8.what to do if you don't believe you owe the debt
9.what to do if you believe the debt collector has violated the law
10.where to report a violation

What debts are covered?
Any personal, family and household debts are covered. Including, but not limited to, auto loans and medical care.

How debt collectors may contact you?
Contact by person, mail, telephone, telegram or fax is permitted. A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places. A debt collector may not contact you before 8:00am or after 9:00pm. They also may not contact you at your place of employment if they know that your employer does not allow you to receive such contacts.

How to stop a debt collector from contacting you?
If you mail a letter to the collection agency asking them to stop, with a few exceptions, they must stop. They can contact you to:

* say that further attempts are being terminated
* say what, if any, further actions is to be taken

Who else and how a debt collector may contact about your debt?
A collector may contact other parties only to find out where you live, your phone number and who you work for. They may not:

1.state that you owe a debt
2.contact any party more than once, unless:
a) requested to do so by the party
b) they believe that the earlier response was untrue or incomplete
c) they believe that the party now has correct or complete information
3.contact you by post card
4.use envelopes with information on them stating that the mail is from a collection agency or related to the collection of a debt.
5.contact you if they know you are represented by an attorney. If the attorney fails to respond within a reasonable time, the collector can continue to contact you.

What you must be told about the debt.
Within 5 days of contacting you the collection agency must give you:

* amount owed
* name of person or business owed
* what action to take if you believe you don't owe the money

If the debt is not with the original debtor, you have the right to request and receive information on who the original debtor is. The collection agency must provide this information to you. Also, they must provide it within 30 days. During this time the collection agency can not try to collect on this debt until they get verification or the name and address of the original debtor is mailed to you.

Types of debt collection practices are prohibited.
Debt collectors may not harass, oppress or abuse you.
Examples:

1.May not threaten or use violence.
2.Use abusive language or language that is meant to abuse.
3.Publish a list of names of people who owe debts
4.Advertise for sale any debt to coerce payment.
5.Advertise for sale any debt to coerce payment.
a)Imply that they are attorneys.
b)Imply that they are government representative
c)Imply that you have committed a crime.
d)State that they work for or operate a credit bureau
e)Falsely state the amount or legal status of a debt.
f)You will be arrested if you don't pay.
g)State that papers are legal forms when they are not.
h)State that papers are not legal forms when they are
i)That they will garnish, seize or sell your property or wages, unless it is legal and they intend to.
j)Threaten to take action that is not legal or there is no intention to take
6.Debt collectors may not:
a)Give false information to credit bureaus or anyone else about you
b)Send any official looking documents from a court or government agency when it is not.
c)Use a false name
d)Collect more than what is owed. (Unless your state allows a charge)
e)Prematurely deposit a post-dated check or other financial instrument.
f)Conceal their identity to get you to pay for charges related to, but not limited to, collect calls and telegrams.
g)Contact you by post card

What control you have over payments,
If you have more than one debt, you chose where your payment is applied. A collector can not apply payment to a debt that you do not believe you owe.

What to do if you don't believe you owe the debt.
Send a letter to the debt collector and the debtor with the information that you believe to be wrong. Send them copies of documents that supports your position.

What to do if you believe the debt collector has violated the law.
Report the collector to your state Attorney General's office and the FTC. If they are found to have broken the law and you filed within one year of the violation, you may sue. You could receive damages suffered, court costs, attorney fees and an amount up to $1000.

Where to report a violation.
Contact your state Attorney General and the FTC. If your state has it's own collection laws, your Attorney General's office can help you with your rights.

Copyright 2007 Robert Hughes
About the Author
Robert Hughes is credit specialist who specializes in credit repair. He received his degree in accounting in 1979. He is also an internet marketer who owns Hughes Network Marketing, LLC, which owns and operates several marketing websites one of which is:
http://www.getyourcreditrepaired.com

Link to sample dispute letter: http://getyourcreditrepaired.com/dispute_letter.html
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