Know Your Rights

DEBT COLLECTORS MAY NOT HARASS OR ABUSE YOU BY:

  • Making annoying, harassing and abusive phone calls
  • Contacting you without disclosing their identity
  • Contacting anyone except you, your attorney, or a credit bureau (with very limited exceptions)
  • Threatening to have you arrested if you do not pay your debts
  • Threatening any action they do not intend to take such as a lawsuit or wage garnishment
  • Using profane or abusive language

DEBT COLLECTORS MAY NOT CONTACT YOU:

  • Making repeated and continuous phone calls
  • Telling others about your debts, like your neighbors or co-workers
  • After they know you are represented by an attorney
  • At any unusual time (before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.) or place
  • Call you at work if they know that your employer prohibits it, or if it's inconvenient for you.
  • After written notification that you refuse to pay debt
  • After written notification to cease all further communication

DEBT COLLECTORS MAY NOT MAKE FALSE, DECEPTIVE or MISLEADING STATEMENTS:

  • Threatening to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken
  • Falsely threatening an imminent law suit or wage garnishment
  • Leading you to believe he/she is an attorney or that a phone call or letter is from an attorney
  • Falsely threatening criminal prosecution or jail
  • Misrepresenting the amount or legal status of the debt
  • Falsely implying affiliation with the United States or any state, including the use of any badge and/or uniform
  • Sending a collection letter or leaving a voice mail that fails to contain the mini-Miranda warning: "THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT. COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR".
  • Misrepresenting themselves as being employed by a consumer reporting agency
  • Communicating false credit information, including failure to communicate to credit bureaus that a debt is disputed


DEBT COLLECTORS MAY NOT USE UNFAIR PRACTICE SUCH AS:

  • Attempting to collect an amount not authorized by contract or permitted by law.
  • Depositing or threatening to deposit your post-dated check prior to its date
  • Accepting or soliciting your check postdated by more than 5 days without 3 business days written notice of intent to deposit
  • Causing any charges to be made to you. e.g. collect telephone calls, usage of cell phone minutes
  • Taking or threatening to unlawfully repossess
  • Communicating with you by postcards
  • Displaying any language or symbol on the envelope indicating the communication concerns debt collection


DEBT COLLECTORS MUST PROVIDE CERTAIN NOTICE

Within 5 days of initial communication, a debt collector must provide you with a 30-day validation notice containing:

  • The amount of the debt
  • The name of the original creditor to whom the debt is owed
  • A statement that, unless you dispute the validity of the debt or any portion of it within 30 days after receipt of the notice, the debt can be assumed to be valid by the debt collector
  • A statement that, if you notify the debt collector in writing within the 30-day period that the debt or any portion is dispute, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of the judgment against you and a copy will be mailed to you
  • A statement that the debt collector will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor (if different from the current creditor) upon your request within the 30-day period
  • A statement that the communication is from a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and that any information will be used for that purpose
  • If you send the debt collector a letter requesting verification of the debt, the debt collector MUST cease collection efforts until it mails you a verification of the debt.

Things You Can Do to Help

1. DONT THROW ANYTHING AWAY


You should save every letter, envelope or other
document sent to you. Often times, a document you think
is not important can actually make the difference in being
able to protect YOUR RIGHTS!

2. WRITE IT DOWN

Following any telephone call you have with a debt
collector. You should write the date, time, and who you
spoke with. You should also write down as much of the
conversation as you can remember. Be specific.

3. SAVE EVERY VOICE MAIL MESSAGE FROM A DEBT
COLLECTOR


Many times debt collectors leave false, deceptive and
misleading messages, or fail to properly advise you of
your rights!