Here are six things 3rd-party debt collectors may not do.
They may NOT…
- They may NOT use other people, like your neighbors, friends or family, to put pressure on you to pay your debt. If the debt collector calls any of these people the law allows them to verify information about your whereabouts and circumstances, but NOT to have them speak to you about the debt.
- They may NOT call you at any time of the day or night. The law says 3rd-party debt collectors must call between 8am and 9pm local time. You, as the consumer, also have the right to ask NOT to be called during certain hours. For example, if you work graveyard, you may asked them to only call you during the hours you’re awake.
- They may NOT harass you with excessive repeated calls, foul language, threats to do harm to you or your property.
- They may NOT pretend to be anything or anyone other than a 3-rd party debt collector.
- They may NOT lie about the amount of debt you owe, neither can they threaten to garnish your wages unless it is really going to happen soon.
- They may NOT continue contacting you for payment once you have clearly indicated in writing your refusal to pay.
Are you nearing a wage garnishment? If the garnishment will cause a financial hardship, here’s what you can do to temporarily stall it:
- Make sure there is a judgement against you. Wages cannot be garnished until a judgment exists.
- File a “Claim of Exemption” along with a Personal Financial Statement with the court in which the writ of execution was issued. I recommend having an attorney review it first just to ensure everything is correct.
There’s lots of legal help out there. Be proactive about dealing with your debts. Many people ignore the phone calls, or if they answer them, they end up crumbling under the pressure of the threats. Know there is legal protection for you and you have legal rights in this area. Above all, keep your peace. No matter what happens, you WILL rebuild!