Are You Dealing With Abusive Debt Collectors? New Resources to Help

/ BY / Managing Debt

The Government is cracking down on abusive debt collectors, starting with a record-breaking penalty to the biggest debt collection company in the world. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined Expert Global Solutions 3.2 million dollars for breaking multiple rules under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

According to the complaint, Expert Global Solutions and its subsidiaries called consumers repeatedly at all hours, ignored requests for them to stop, and didn't verify debts as required by law.

If you’ve ever had to deal with debt collectors, you probably already know it can be a stressful and unpleasant experience. While the laws in the Fair Debt Collection Act are designed to protect you from abusive practices, not all collectors follow these rules.

Your Rights When Dealing With Debt Collectors

When it comes to dealing with debt collectors, knowing your rights can protect you from abusive practices. According to the law, it is illegal for debt collectors to:

  • Call you before 8 am or after 9 pm
  • Call you repeatedly in a short amount of time
  • Contact someone other than you and tell them about your debts
  • Threaten you with legal action, such as foreclosing on your home or arresting you
  • Harassing you in any way, including using obscene language or insults
  • Continue to call you if you ask them to stop

Additionally, when first contacting you about a debt (or within five days of making first contact), the debt collector must tell you how much you owe, the name of the original creditor, and what to do if you want to dispute the debt.

What to Do When Debt Collectors Contact You

If you get a call from a debt collector demanding money, don’t panic. Here’s what you can do:

  • Ask for verification of the debt. You can also do this in writing within 30 days of receiving the phone call. By law, they must respond to this request with the amount owed, the original creditor, and the original account number. They are not allowed to contact you until they have verified the debt in writing.
  • Check the statute of limitations. If it’s an old debt, it may have expired and you are not liable for it.
  • Don’t pay anything until the debt has been verified and you have made sure it is not past the statute of limitations.
  • Negotiate for a smaller amount. If the debt is valid, try and negotiate for a settled amount that is smaller than what you owe. Make sure they mark the debt “paid in full” on your credit report.
  • Get everything in writing.

Reporting Abusive Debt Collectors

If it weren’t for complaints filed by consumers and the FTC’s penalty, these abusive debt collections would have continued.

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