Debt collectors love to do what they can to get money from you. Yes, they’re only doing their jobs. However, sometimes they like to push the limits, or worse, to get you to repay. Fortunately, you do have some protections. Here are 12 things debt collectors can’t do to you.
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Pretend They Work For the Government
Debt collectors sound official. They are legitimate, but they don’t work for the government or law enforcement. Debt collectors also can’t claim they work for a consumer reporting agency.
This is misrepresentation, and they can’t use it against you.
Threaten You With Arrest
Debt collection agencies aren’t able to issue arrest warrants. They can only try and collect on an outstanding debt.
This is different from an order to appear before a court over fines tied to debt or child support.
Publicly Shame You
Debt collectors can’t contact you via postcard. Furthermore, they can’t make claims against you on social media.
Try to Collect On Something You Don’t Owe
At times, a debt collector may use invalid information to try and coerce you into making a payment. They may also try and collect on a debt that has been paid off or discharged.
If you believe they’re trying to collect on something you don’t owe, mail them a letter with a return receipt asking for an explanation.
Be Obscene Or Use Profanity
Debt collectors can’t use abusive or profane language. If they do, they can be reported. Their demeanor may be less than pleasant, but they can’t harass you.
Call You At Work
This is a toss-up. Debt collectors can call you at work. However, if you ask them to stop, they must legally comply.
Additionally, they’re not allowed to disclose the reason for the call to your co-workers.
Call You Too Early Or Too Late
Debt collectors must comply with a specific timeframe to call you. They’re not allowed to call you before 8:00 A.M. or after 9:00 P.M. in your time zone.
Arrive At Your Workplace
It is illegal for debt collectors to show up at your place of work. They are allowed to call you there, but it’s against the law for them to physically show up.
Add Interest Or Fees to Your Debt
Debt collection agencies effectively purchase your outstanding indebtedness. They’re not allowed to add any interest or fees to the amount.
If the amount has grown since they first contacted you, it’s not your responsibility.
Call You If You Have an Attorney
Do you have an attorney helping with your situation? Debt collectors must contact your lawyer, not you.
Call You Too Often
Prior to November 30, 2021, debt collectors could contact you as much as they want. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
They’re not allowed to call you more than seven times a week.
Contact You if You Ask Them to Stop
Getting contacted by a collector is annoying, at best. If you ask them to stop contacting you they must stop doing so.
You must do this in writing. If you have an attorney, you can direct the collectors to contact them. However, if you don’t you can still request the debt collector to stop contacting you.
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I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.