1. What types of debts are covered by debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector can cover personal, family, and household debts. This includes debts on personal credit cards, auto loan, mortgage, or a medical bills. The debts taken to run a business is not covered under the Act.
2. Do debt collectors follow any law?
A federal law known as the FDCPA limits the debt collectors’ actions to harass you. Many states have adopted certain laws to provide protection from the abusive practices of debt collectors.
3. Do debt collector have the right to call me anytime they wish to?
A debt collector is allowed to contact you by phone, mail, fax or even in person, but there are certain limitations to the time and place. The debt collectors can’t contact you at unreasonable times like before 8:00 a.m. and after 9:00 pm. If they wish to call you in those times, they need to take special permission from you. They are also not suppose to call at work hours if you intimate that you are not allowed to take calls at work.
4. Does a debt collector have the right to garnish my wage?
A debt collector needs to sue you first, and then win the judgement from the court. The collector can garnish your wage only after that. Moreover, a third party, like your bank, is directed to turn over funds from your account to pay your debt. The debt collector isn’t suppose to harass you to garnish your wage. It’s illegal until a lawsuit is filed.
5. How can I get debt collectors stop calling me if I’m a victim of identity theft?
You need to show evidence to the debt collector that you are the victim of identity theft, so that the debt collectors stop contacting you. You can show police report, fraud affidavit or letters from companies saying that the debts are not yours. After getting the evidences, the debt collectors need to stop collecting and investigating about the debt. They must inform the original creditor about the identity theft.
6. Is the debt collector allowed to access my credit report?
The credit history contains very confidential and sensitive information and obviously you don’t want the world to know about it, specially the debt collectors. Companies need to take your permission before requesting for copies of your credit report. However, under few circumstances, collection agencies can access your credit history from all the credit bureaus without taking your consent.
7. Is the debt collector allowed to contact me even when I don’t think I owe the money?
You must send the debt collector a letter mentioning that you don’t owe any money within 30 days of receiving the validation notice. You must also ask for the verification of the debt and state that the collector must stop contacting you. However, they can contact you again if they have written verification of the debt, you must check the copy of the bill for the amount you owe.
8. Can a debt collector sue me?
A debt collector has the rights to sue for an unpaid debt. 9. What should I do if a debt collector sues me? If a debt collector has sued you, it’s very important to respond to the lawsuit, personally or through the lawyer you’ve appointed. You must act within the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.
9. Do I need to pay debts of a deceased relative?
You are not responsible for the debts of your relative who is dead. Though, the debt collectors might not leave any stone unturned to receive repayment from the debtor’s relatives, but, you are not responsible for the debts. However, if a debt collector still contacts you, can send him/ her a certified, return receipt advising the collector to stop all contact. Keep a copy of this receipt. According to FDCPA, a debt collector is not allowed to contact you other than for acknowledgement of your letter or to notify you if take some action, like filing a lawsuit.
10. Are debt collectors allowed to add fees to my debt?
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is not allowed to collect an amount more than the debt, until your state laws permits such charges.
11. Is it allowed that debt collectors reveal my debt info to my relatives or friends?
Under the FDCPA, the debt collector is suppose to discuss about the debt only with the individual, the creditor, a credit bureau and an attorney who is representing the party concerned. However, if the debt collector doesn’t have your contact details, he/ she can contact family or relatives to know about it. They are not allowed to give details to the relatives about the reason behind contacting you.
12. Is there a time limit for collecting debt?
Generally, there are no limits on the time a company can attempt to collect on a debt. However, the statute of limitations may vary from state to state.