In these uncertain times falling behind on bills and debts can be stressful, especially if the bill collectors become more persistent. While it is generally legal for debt collectors to call at home or work (unless your employer prohibits it), they are not allowed to utilize abusive or fraudulent tactics to get you to pay.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) regulates the activities of independent debt collection agencies - but not the original creditor - and provides specific guidelines as to the tactics they can use to collect a debt.
Just a few of the activities prohibited under Fair Debt Collection Act include:
- Discussing your debt with third parties except for your attorney, a credit reporting bureau or the original creditor
- Contacting you at unreasonable times
- Threatening or using violence against you, or using profane language
- Claiming or representing a legal authority unless they are an attorney
There are options for someone being harassed by a bill collector under the FDCPA, including the option to file a complaint. Some states also have consumer protection laws that regulate the amount interest or fees that can be accrued over time, as well as other debt collection related activities. For more information about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, check out: What you Can Do if a Bill Collector Crosses the Line.