The following information is useful to creditors who are collecting money themselves, or are seeking the help of a debt collection agency. You can use these collection agency practices guidelines when evaluating your own in-house collection procedures. For more detailed information please view the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.How May A Collection Agency Contact A Debtor?.
A debt collection agency may contact a debtor in person, by mail, telephone, telegram, or FAX.A collection agency may not contact a debtor:.> Before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
> At inconvenient or unreasonable places;
> At a place of employment if it is known the employer prohibits such contact;
> If an attorney is known to represent the debtor, the attorney should be contacted instead.Can A Debtor Stop a Collection Agency From Contacting Them?.A debtor may stop a collection agency from contacting them by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to cease all communications with them and that they will deal with the creditor directly.Once the collection agency receives the letter, they may not contact the debtor again except to say there will be no further contact. Another exception is that the agency may notify the debtor if the debt collector or the creditor intends to take some specific action. Ceasing contact does not preclude a lawsuit.
May a Collection Agency Contact Any Other Person Concerning A Debt?.A debt collector may contact a person other than the debtor only to discover or verify the debtor's location. The collector must:.> Identify himself, but he must identify his employer only if expressly requested to do so;
> Not reveal the consumer's indebtedness to anyone other than the debtor or his/her attorney;
> Not use a post card or in any way reveal debt collection activity.
.The collection agency may contact any person besides the debtor about a case only once.
Validating The Debt.Within five days after contacting a debtor about paying a debt, the collection agency must send a written notice that includes:.> The name of the creditor and the amount of debt;
> That the debt will be assumed to be valid unless disputed within 30 days; if disputed, the collector will verify it and send a copy of the verification or of a judgment against the consumer. During a period when a debt is being verified, the collector may not attempt to obtain payment.
Debt Collection Practices That Are Prohibited.Harassment. Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse any person; they may not:.> Use threats of violence or harm against the person, property, or reputation;
> Publish a list of consumers who refuse to pay their debts, except to a credit bureau or advertise the debt;
> Use obscene or profane language;
> Repeatedly use the telephone to annoy someone;
> Telephone people without identifying themselves.False statements.
Debt collectors may not use any false statements when collecting a debt; they may not:.> Use false, deceptive or misleading representations as to their identity, such as falsely implying they are attorneys or government representatives;
> Falsely imply that a debtor has committed a crime or state that they will be arrested if a debtor does not pay the debt;
> Misrepresent the amount of a debt;
> Misrepresent the involvement of an attorney in collecting a debt; > Indicate that papers being sent to a debtor are legal forms when they are not or indicate that papers being sent to a debtor are not legal forms when they are;
> State that they will seize, garnish, attach, or sell a debtor's property or wages unless they or the creditor intends to do so and it is legal to do so;
> Give false credit information about a debtor to anyone.Unfair Practices.
Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices such as:.> Collect any amount greater than a debt, unless allowed by law;.Collection Agency Outsourcing offers you free information on collection agencies and debt collections issues.
> Make a debtor accept collect calls or pay for telegrams;
> Deposit a post-dated check prematurely.
By: Steve Austin