If you have seen the dark side of being overwhelmed by credit and collectors you would definitely wonder whether the financially insolvent have any rights at all. It is bad enough that you have no money to make the installments due and most of your belongings have been repossessed; the continuous hounding by the collectors could become a real bad scene traumatizing the strongest of persons.
The Good News – you do have rights that protect you from this horrific scenario. Let us go through some of these basic rights which can retain your sanity when you find yourself totally harassed by the bill collectors.
1. Get familiar with the FDCPA or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This is very important because the FDCPA clearly describes what is permissible and what is not. It will tell how the debt collector should contact you. There are many intimidation tactics that the debt collectors adopt that are actually not legal and the law offers you protection against such practices. However, many people are not aware about these rights and hence they are not able to defend themselves.
2. Other rights that you should know about – when you owe a debt you definitely have the moral and legal obligation to honor it. However, if you are taking steps to clear the debt and need the collectors to stop contacting you – you can write to them asking them to stop and they would have to follow your request. In case they contact anyone searching for you or your contact address, they should not tell anybody you owe money against a debt.
3. The debtors are prohibited by the law regarding the following matters as well:
a. They cannot use any type of violence and direct / indirect threats
b. They cannot use abusive language or behavior towards you
c. They cannot spread false and damaging rumors about you
d. They cannot contact you under false pretexts such as they were attorneys, government representatives, etc.
4. You can find redressal when you believe you have been wronged by the debt collector you need to file a complaint with the Attorney General. A word of caution here – you have to file within a year from the alleged harassment which would give you the right to sue the abusive debt collector (s). The Attorney General's office would be able to inform you about the law pertaining to the State you live in and your rights.
So, if you find yourself to be hounded to the brink of insanity by debt collectors, do not despair. You do have rights even when you are unable to pay a debt and the sooner you learn about these rights the better you would be empowered to fight against any illegal intimidation tactics that may be used.
Keep in mind though that the best way to win an argument is to be on the right. Hence, you would need to do your best to get out of the debt the fastest way possible. This would be the best way to get rid of the debt collectors.