Debtors in the US have certain rights that must be respected by debt collectors. Several years ago, The New York Times wrote an interesting piece on how debt collectors resorted to mob tactics to intimidate debtors. The article described instances of physical violence and destruction of property. Fortunately, debt collectors are not allowed to resort to these tactics in the US.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers you certain protections if you have consumer debts. Under this law, third-party debt collection agencies are forbidden from the following:
- Making threats of physical violence or harm
- Using obscene or profane language
- Misrepresenting themselves or the debts owed
- Threatening to have you arrested
- Making repeated phone calls with the intent to annoy or harass
- Giving false information about you to other parties
- Coming to your workplace to collect payments
- Pursuing you for debts you do not owe
We have only listed a few common violations under the FDCPA. There are other restrictions placed on debt collection agencies. There are also actions debt collectors are allowed to take. Debt collectors can apply pressure by calling you at reasonable hours or by sending letters asking for payment. In addition, they may seek a judgment to garnish your wages. However, you have the right to dispute the debts and certain debt collection actions.
Are There Other Protections Against Debt Collectors?
Filing for bankruptcy can protect you from debt collectors. After you file, an automatic stay is issued. This means that collection attempts, including most wage garnishments and phone calls, come to a halt. Debt collectors can get into trouble for violating the stay. Unlike the FDCPA, the automatic stay’s protections extend to business debts.
If you are struggling with consumer or business debt, then you should speak to one of our New Jersey business lawyers. We could help you determine possible options for debt relief, including bankruptcy. For future blog updates, follow Garland & Mason, L.L.C on Facebook and Twitter.