Third-party debt-collection agencies are in the business of collecting on old debts. As a result, they’ll often use tough tactics to achieve their goals. When a debt collection agency crosses the line, their improper or illegal behavior can cause serious damage to consumers. Many times the debt they are collecting for isn’t even legal! This is why it is SO important for consumers to answer the collection lawsuit.
Below is a list of tactics often used by the collection companies:
- Pretending to be a law enforcement officer, a representative of a government agency, or an attorney. Some debt collectors might impersonate one of these parties to scare you into paying. However, it is illegal for debt collectors to lie about their relationship with police, a government office, or an attorney.
- Telling your employer or a third party about the debt. Financial information is confidential. Threatening to reveal it is prohibited.
- Harassing the consumer with abusive language or other tactics. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from a number of harassing means of communication, as well as from abusive language.
- Threatening the consumer with violence. One of the most frightening of harassing or abusive-language tactics is the threat of violence.
- Calling outside of authorized hours. The FDCPA requires debt collectors to limit their calls to 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time (your local time not the collection company), or to a time you tell them they may call.
- Attempting to enforce a debt that is not a legitimate debt. Third-party debt collectors often attempt to get you to pay a debt that is not your debt, that is the wrong amount, or that was never owed in the first place.
- Reporting negative credit information without acknowledging a dispute. If you have disputed the debt – and your attorney can help you do so properly – then the debt-collection agency must admit this if they report negative credit information to credit bureaus about you.
- Contacting you when they know you have an attorney. Once you are represented by an attorney, debt collectors need to communicate with your lawyer – and leave you alone.