How to Handle Debt Collection Calls: Your Rights and Options

debt collection

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when you’re already struggling with financial difficulties. Knowing your rights and understanding your options can empower you to handle these calls effectively and protect yourself from abusive practices. Here’s what you need to know about handling debt collection calls.

Understanding Debt Collection Laws

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that bans debt collectors from being abusive to consumers when they call you to collect a debt.

Know Your Rights

When dealing with debt collectors, remember that they cannot:

  • Call you at unreasonable hours, typically before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., or at any time you tell them is not appropriate (like during your work hours or the times you normally sleep).
  • Contact you at work if you tell them not to call you there.
  • Harass or abuse you, which includes using threats, obscene language, or repeatedly calling to annoy you.
  • Misrepresent the amount you owe or falsely claim to be attorneys or government representatives.
  • Threaten you with arrest.
  • Threaten you with legal action if it is not true.
  • Threaten to call your relatives, friends, or neighbors.

How to Get More Information About a Debt

If you’re unsure about a debt, you have the right to request validation. Within five days of first contacting you, a debt collector must send you a written notice that tells you how much you owe, the name of the creditor, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money. If you request more information about the debt within 30 days of receiving this notice, the debt collector must stop all collection activities until they provide you with information.

Options for Dealing with Debt Collectors

Here are some options you can consider when dealing with debt collectors:

  • Negotiation: You can try to negotiate a payment plan or settlement. Be sure to get any agreement in writing before making a payment.
  • Dispute: If you believe the debt is not yours or the amount is incorrect, you can dispute the debt in writing.
  • Legal Advice: Consulting with a consumer bankruptcy attorney can provide you with professional advice and potential legal actions you can take.

When to Seek Legal Help

If a debt collector is abusing you or you’re considering bankruptcy, it may be time to seek legal help. An experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your rights, negotiate with debt collectors, and explore options like bankruptcy if it’s the best solution for your situation.

Impact of Bankruptcy on Debt Collection

Filing for bankruptcy can provide significant relief from debt collection efforts. Once you file, an automatic stay is issued, which stops most creditors from collecting debts. This means debt collectors must cease all collection activities, including phone calls, letters, and lawsuits. Bankruptcy can either discharge your debts or create a manageable repayment plan depending on the type of bankruptcy you file.

Turning the Tables: What About Suing the Collectors?

Under the FDCPA, consumers have the right to sue debt collectors who violate their rights. If a debt collector has engaged in harassment, made false statements, or used unfair practices, you can file a lawsuit against them. Successful claims can result in the collection agency being required to pay you damages for any harm caused, along with covering your attorney’s fees and court costs. Consulting with a consumer protection attorney can help you understand if you have a case and guide you through the legal process.

Conclusion

Handling debt collection calls can be daunting, but understanding your rights and options can make the process more manageable. If you’re facing aggressive debt collection tactics or considering bankruptcy, our team at the Bond & Botes Law Offices is here to help. Call 1-877-581-3396 today for a free initial confidential consultation to discuss your situation and explore the best solutions for you. Contact us through our webiste to get the support you need.

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