It is never easy to work hard all week knowing you will still end up behind on payments or remain in debt. That pressure of always knowing you are not making ends meet can be extremely stressful.
It only gets worse when that pressure transforms from notices in the mail, to phone calls, to people trying to contact you around the clock. If you are the target of a debt collector it can be completely overwhelming. That being said, it is important to know your rights and what these debt collectors can and cannot do.
For starters, there is the FDCPA [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act] which protects you from being harassed by debt collectors. The act spells out and monitors how they can contact you, what they can say to you and what they can say to third parties.
When it comes to contacting you there are actually guidelines and rules for how to do so. The FDCPA states that debt collectors can not contact you at an unusual time or place. They are only allowed to call you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. and they cannot call you repeatedly.
If you have hired an attorney and the debt collectors have been informed of this then they must make all communication through your attorney. It is also important to note that if they try to contact you via snail mail, the envelope must be unmarked to prevent exposure to third parties.
When it comes to what debt collectors can and cannot say to you, it is quite simple.
They are not allowed to threaten you with physical violence, swear at you or threaten to do anything they are not legally in the right to do. In accordance with keeping matters private, they are also not allowed to threaten to share information about your debt to others.
Again, this brings up contacting third parties. In the past, debt collectors were able to gain leverage by threatening to expose your debt to others like coworkers, your family, your friends, etc. Fortunately, that is not the case anymore. It falls under the category of harassment and is not allowed under the FDCPA.
Now, when it comes to the process of debt collection it is important that you cooperate. If you will not pay or cannot pay, they will sue. You will then receive notice from court, with which you do not have to respond or even show up, but it is in your best interest to do so. A judge would then rule in your favor or your creditors favor. If the latter, you are stuck with the debt for good.
If your debt collector gets the judgment against you then they have the power to use a court order to levy your bank account, seize/sell your property, garnish your wages or attach a lien to your home.
As tends to be the case with debt, one last way to resolve any outstanding debt is to file for bankruptcy. It may not be your first option but it is one that provides a fresh financial start if done correctly.
Whichever way you choose to settle your debts, it is helpful to have a lawyer on your side. Experienced lawyer, Joel R. Spivack, is ready to get you the help you deserve. Contact the Law Offices of Joel R. Spivack via our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.