Consumer protections with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

When it comes to debt collectors in Chicago and around the nation, the law does allow for certain consumer rights. The law extends beyond collection agencies to include lawyers who collect on debts and companies that purchase bad debts with the intention of collecting on them. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers a wide range of debts, including personal, household, family and secured debts. Business debts are not protected under the FDCPA.

People who are receiving calls from debt collectors often have concerns about being contacted while at work or at inappropriate times. The law clearly states that debt collectors may not call at inconvenient times, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Furthermore, the law prevents collectors from calling an individual at work once they are informed that the individual is not allowed to receive calls while on the job.

The law also allows individuals to stop the phone calls completely by sending a written statement to the collection agency informing them that all future contact must be done in writing. The request must be written, and consumers are encouraged to keep a copy of the letter for their own records. Sending the request will not eliminate the debt, but it will prevent the collection agencies from initiating further contact with the individual. The two exceptions to this request include notifications that specific action will be taken, such as filing a lawsuit, or to inform the creditor that there will be no further contact from them.

Consumers may also take steps if they believe that the debt is not valid. Attorneys are able to assist debtors with letter requesting proof of the debt owed, or they may work with the consumer to establish that a debt is fraudulent or has already been paid. Finally, consumers may take legal action against a collection agency if they believe that the agency made false claims, engaged in harassment or other unfair practices.

Source: The Federal Trade Commission , " Debt Collection", October 06, 2014


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