One of the reasons why debtors seek
bankruptcy protection is to stop harassing collection attempts from creditors. While anyone
should not be subject to such abusive measures, debtors have rights you
need to know in order to protect yourself, even before you decide to file
for legal protection. There are a number of debt collection agencies over
the last few years that have been investigated and even shut down by the
FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for
unethical collection practices. Such actions occur when rules and regulations related to the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act have been violated.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act helps protect consumers from abusive
practices of debt collectors. Yet, many consumers are unaware of what
is considered an abusive collection practice or how to go about reporting
such acts. A collector working to collect a debt must communicate to the
debtor that their interaction is indeed from a debt collector, while stating
information they collect from you will be used toward collection of the debt.
A debt collector is required to provide certain information to the debtor
such as the amount of the outstanding debt, the original creditor or who
the debt is owed to, the right for you to dispute the debt within 30 days
if the debt is not considered valid, and the debt collector should provide
verification of the debt in question if you dispute the debt.
There are a number of actions a debt collector may engage in that are considered
abusive, such as making inappropriate threats of legal action, use of
foul language, making phone calls at work when your employer doesn't
allow them, seeking payment more than the amount of debt is owed, phone
calls at inappropriate times of the day (after 9:00 PM or before 8:00
AM), or making false threats of criminal action.
Debt collectors are prohibited from contacting debtors once they file bankruptcy
protection. Even prior to you filing bankruptcy debtors have relief under
the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). An experienced Dallas-Fort
Worth bankruptcy attorney can help you review available options while
stopping harassing collection attempts.