Questions to Ask Before You Pay a Debt Collector
Debt collectors are well-versed in the rules and regulations surrounding debt and repayment. Unfortunately, most Americans are not as knowledgeable about these rules, and debt collectors take advantage of their naiveté.
The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) Americans report debt collectors more than any other type of business each year, showing that debt collector violations and harassment are incredibly prevalent in our society. If you have unpaid expenses and have to speak with a debt collector, it’s essential to know your rights as a consumer and protect yourself from harassing behaviors. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you pay a debt collector.
What is a Debt Collector?
When you have unpaid debt, the company you owe the money may enlist the help of a third-party debt collecting agency to collect the debt for them. Debt collectors may contact you via phone, mail, or in person.
Regardless of how much a debtor owes, debt collectors are required to follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) at all times. The FDCPA was created to protect consumers and outlines specific rules about what debt collectors can and cannot do. Violations of the FDCPA can result in a lawsuit in which the debtor can seek compensation for damages.
When is the Debt Collector Calling You?
Debt collectors can only call you during certain times of the day. They may only contact you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Any calls outside of those times are a violation of the FDCPA and could be grounds for a lawsuit.
In addition, the calls cannot exceed one per day, five times per week, or 20 times a month. The FTC continually receives reports regarding debt collectors calling outside of designated times, so be wary of when you hear from them.
Debt collectors can not lie to you over the phone or in their letters to you. They are also not allowed to mislead you. Many times, debt collectors are abusive and/or harassing when they call you. Such conduct is also illegal and entitles you to compensation.
Do You Want the Debt Collector to Stop Calling?
No one wants to be pestered by debt collection calls every day. As a consumer, you have the right to request that they stop calling you by writing a formal cease and desist letter to the collector.
It’s important to note that you must send a separate letter to each of the collecting agencies for them to stop.
Is it Really Your Debt?
Sometimes it’s possible that debt collectors call you even when you don’t owe them anything. There is a frequent complaint that debt collectors often call the wrong person for debt that isn’t theirs.
If the debt collector can’t provide the necessary documentation to prove that the debt belongs to you, you don’t owe them anything. Request that the debt collector verifies the identity of the debt and be sure you aren’t paying them for something that isn’t yours.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Each state has a statute of limitations in place regarding how long a debt collector can pursue your debt. The time generally ranges from three to six years. Even though debt collectors are aware of the limitation, they may try to sue you for expired debt anyway. This practice is illegal, and you can take them to court to prove your case.
Have your Rights Been Violated?
The FDCPA has hundreds of complex rules as to your rights as a debtor. For example, if the debt collector has used profane language or threatened you in any way, they violate the FDCPA.
You can then sue the debt collector for damages relating to the violations you experienced.
Don’t let debt collectors take advantage of your position. If you think you have experienced a violation of the FDCPA, you might have grounds for compensation. You can earn up to $1,000 for enduring harassment. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi have experience fighting for consumer rights on the debtor’s behalf. Contact our office at 1-844-JIBRAEL today. If we determine that you have a case, we will represent you for free.