If you're ever contacted by a debt collector, there are some things you should remember. Bill Lewis is principal of William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates, a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity.
A debt collector may contact you in person, by mail, e-mail, telephone, telegram or fax. A collector may not contact you with such frequency that can be considered harassing. A debt collector may not contact you at work if they know your employer does not disapprove, nor may they contact you at unreasonable times or places, such as before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
A debt collector is required to send written notice within five days of first contact advising the amount due. The notice must also specify the name of the creditor and what action to take if you wish to dispute the debt.
You may stop a debt collector from contacting you by writing a letter ceasing them from communication. Once the agency receives it, they may not make further contact except to advise there will be no further contact or to notify you of a specific action contemplated by the creditor.
A debt collector may not harass or abuse a consumer. A collector may not use threats of violence against a person, property or reputation; use obscene or profane language; advertise the debt; or repeatedly make calls with the intent to harass or abuse the person at the called number.
Debt collectors may not use false statements, such as implying they are attorneys; that you have committed a crime; that they operate or work for a credit reporting agency; misrepresent the amount of a debt; or indicate that papers mailed are legal forms when they are not.
Debt collectors may not threaten arrest or that they will seize property or garnish wages unless the collection agency or creditor intends to do so; or that a lawsuit will be filed when they have no legal right to file or do not intend to file such a suit.