On the one hand, you can’t stop collection agencies from holding you responsible for any debts you might owe. On the other hand, it is entirely possible for you to stop them from calling you or harassing you to make your payments. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to stop collection agencies from contacting you—especially if they use any abusive or disrespectful behaviors.
This law, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, exists to keep collection agencies from using abusive tactics, to encourage them to use fair collection practices, and to allow debtors to file a complaint if their rights have been violated. Keep reading to learn more about your right to stop collection agencies from contacting or harassing you.
Fair Debt Collection FAQs
What laws are enforced upon debt collection agencies?
The most significant law enforced upon debt collection agencies is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but they also must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act—which holds them accountable to report cautiously and accurately.
What are the communication guidelines for collection agencies to follow?
Typically, collection agencies will make first contact over the phone. When they make this first call, they should provide their name, designations, associated collection agency, the creditor they are representing, and the amount of debt owed. Within the next five days following the call, they must also send a written letter recording the information they provided. In some cases, you may receive this letter before they contact you by phone.
What if a collection agency contacts the wrong person?
If you have been contacted for a debt that isn’t yours, you should notify the collection agency immediately—both over the phone and via a written letter. Keep a copy of the letter and pay for a return receipt so that you have proof that they received it. The collector should then stop contacting you other than to confirm the request you made.
Can a debtor request verification from a collector?
After you receive the first written correspondence from a collection agency, you are able to respond with a request for verification if necessary. You should send this request within 30 days after you receive the collection agency’s first letter.
Can a debtor stop collection agencies from calling?
All debtors have the right to stop collection agencies from calling them—even if the debt is correct and no mistakes were made. This doesn’t remove your responsibility to pay the debt, however, and collection agencies may take legal actions in response. If you would like to stop collection agencies from contacting you, send a written letter and pay for a return receipt for proof that they received the letter. They should immediately stop contacting you other than to confirm your request.
What should you do if you are a victim of identity theft?
If you can prove that you are a victim of identity theft by providing a police report and affidavit of fraud, then you can request to stop collection agencies from contacting you. You will need to provide the relevant documents in a written letter, paying for a return receipt for proof that they received it. The collection agency should cease contact and investigate the issue to notify the creditor that you were a victim of identity theft.
Can a collection agency call a debtor’s friends, family, or coworkers?
Under the FDCPA, collection agencies are not allowed to contact anyone other than the debtor unless they are seeking contact information when the debtor is unreachable. In any case, they are not allowed to discuss your debt with anyone else unless the person is your spouse or an authorized representative. If you request that they stop this behavior and the request is not honored, you have the right to file a complaint against them.
What a debtor do if a collection agency uses abusives practices?
Although phone calls are difficult to prove, you have the right to file a complaint if a collector used abusive practice to seek payment. Before you file a complaint, you should record as much information as possible regarding the circumstances of the abuse and send a letter to the collector requesting that all future contact be made through written correspondence. In this letter, you should also make them aware of the abuse. Once you have sent this letter, you should file a complaint to the FTC.
Can collection agencies charge more than what is owed?
The FDCPA prohibits collection agencies from charging more than the debt that is being collected, but state laws may allow them to add charges to your debt. Make sure to check your state laws before filing a complaint.
How can a complaint be filed against a collector?
After a violation has been made, you have one year to file a complaint with the FTC. It is important to keep in mind that one complaint may not prompt the FTC or Congress to take action; however, multiple complaints from several people might. Your complaint still plays an important role in holding collection agencies accountable for their actions. If a state law is violated, visit your local Attorney General. If a federal law is violated, visite the Federal Trade Commission.
If you would like to learn more about your rights to stop collection agencies or would like assistance with debt relief, Strategic Debt Relief can offer expert advice regarding your situation. Fill out our short application online and get an immediate response, or call us at 877-297-4477 for a free consultation today.