The federal laws have provided the common man with many protections to combat against the debtor's threats and abusive calls.
If you know your rights, you can stop the debt collectors from harassing you and participating in unfair practices.
There exists a robust federal debt collection law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which provides you the following protections:
1. Harassment by debt collectors is against the law: According to FDCPA laws, the debt collectors cannot threaten you or use profane or unethical language while talking to you. Further, the debt collectors can’t call you repeatedly or threaten to take legal action. Whenever you are on a call with a debt collector, make sure your phone’s recording button is on. This will help if you lodge a complaint against the collector in future.
2. You can cease debt collectors from contacting you at work: Tell the debt collector that your employer doesn’t allow you to take collection calls at working hours. After hearing this, the collector should stop calling you at your workplace.
3. Debt is always private: According to the FDCPA, debt collectors can’t discuss your debt with third parties except a co-signer, your attorney or your spouse. So they cannot tell your neighbors or co-workers about your debt, either.
Apart from the FDCPA, there are the state laws related to debt and debt collection.
Each state has a "statute of limitations" that decides how long the debt collectors have to sue a debtor to collect. The time period is usually between 4-6 years from the time you cease your debt payments.
After this period, the debt collectors cannot contact you or sue you. But some debt, such as unpaid taxes, student loans or child support, can be collected indefinitely.
If you feel you are being unduly harassed, in order to stop the debt collectors from contacting you, you can send them a "cease and desist letter."
After receiving this letter, the only thing a debt collector can do is send you an acknowledgement letter.
After getting such a letter, debt collectors cannot call you and the only option available for them is to sue you. So, only use this method if you believe that the debt is not your or the debt is too old to be paid and that you would win any possible lawsuit.
If any debt collector breaks the law, consult your mens divorce attorney about possible legal options.