Being in debt causes worry enough, but what people find really upsetting are nasty phone calls from debt collectors. Yet what many do not know is that there is a simple way to stop this form of harassment. The rights of the debtor are set out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act or FDCPA. After a brief outline of the provisions for protection of debtors contained in the FDCPA, we will explain the procedure to stop those nasty calls.
The FDCPA regulates the way that collection agencies carry out their business and stipulates how and when they may contact you. For example they may only call you between the hours of 8am in the morning and 9pm at night. Calls to you at work are not permitted where the collection agency knows that the employer does not allow private calls. Naturally threats and intimidation are against the law, as are any suggestions that you are committing a crime by failing to pay.
Even with these restrictions a debt collector is still left with plenty of opportunities to call you about the money that is owed. So what can you do to stop these phone calls? The answer is quite simple – you just have to write to the debt collector requesting him to stop calling. In formal language you will send him a cease and desist letter. Once your letter has been received the debt collection agency is allowed to send you one final letter advising what action, if any, they propose to take. You should note that this applies to debt collectors and not the actual creditor.
In your letter to the collection agency you should state that they should cease and desist from any further communication with you or members of your family. There is no set form for the letter, but if you let the debt collector know that you are aware of your rights under the FDCPA, it will give added authority. You could also mention that if they ignore your request, you will make a complaint to the Federal trade Commission and your state Attorney General’s office.
It is important that your cease and desist letter to the collection agency should be sent by certified mail with return receipt requested so that you have proof that it has been received. Should the debt collector ignore your letter and continue to call you, then you will have the necessary evidence to take action against the agency. There is a time limit for bringing such a claim. You have one year from the date of the violation to file a lawsuit.
While debt collectors perform a legitimate function, they are bound to observe the law. Make sure that you are aware of your rights so you can take the ation needed to stop those nasty calls from debt collection agencies.