As we warned over a year ago, debt collectors are becoming more aggressive and more brazen in their attempts to collect on delinquent debt. Many of the practices being used by some debt collectors are unethical or even downright illegal. That's why every debtor needs to know their rights as defined and enforced by the Fair Debt collection Practices Act.
Your Rights Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Let's take a look at some of debtors' most important rights:
- Debtors have the right to demand that debt a collection company provide proof that the debtor actually owes the debt and that the company has the right to collect on the debt. We've already talked about the slew of scam debt collection companies pretending to be collecting on debts when they really weren't the legitimate collectors.
- Debtors have the right to demand that a debt collector not pursue collections against them for a debt that is older than the statute of limitations for their state. For the state of Texas the statue of limitations is four years for open accounts (most credit cards are considered open accounts).
- While debt collectors do have the right to contact debtors at their workplace, if the debtor requests that the creditor stop calling them at work, they must stop calling. However, the debt collector can contact the debtor's workplace if they have a wage garnishment order.
- Debt collectors are not allowed to contact the debtor's family and friends regarding a debt.
- Debt collectors are prohibited from threatening the debtor with imprisonment, violence or using verbal abuse while trying to collect on a debt.
- If a debt collector violates the law while trying to collect a debt, the debtor has the right to file a lawsuit against the creditor and collect damages.