October 13, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Arizona Consumers Can Protect Themselves from Aggressive Debt Collectors
In today's underperforming economy, many people in Arizona and across the U.S. are struggling to pay their bills. Some have missed payments and have had accounts go to collections agencies. Many debt collectors have begun to use increasingly aggressive tactics when trying to collect from consumers -- some of which are illegal. People should be aware of the techniques debt collectors are using, their legal protections and some ways of dealing with creditor harassment.
Debt Collection Tactics
The federal government has been focusing more attention on debt collectors since 2010. The Federal Trade Commission takes consumer complaints regarding collection practices and investigates suspected illegal practices. Some of the issues the FTC has encountered include:
-Debt collectors calling consumers about debts that are too old for the creditor to collect anymore
-Collection calls coming in the middle of the night
-Collectors using threatening language
-Collectors misrepresenting themselves and pretending to be from a different agency, such as legal aid or law enforcement
-Collection agencies using false affidavits in lawsuits to obtain judgments against consumers
-Collection agencies failing to ensure that they are contacting the proper person about the debt and harassing people who never incurred the debts in question
State and federal laws dictate what debt collectors may do when attempting to collect a debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits professional debt collectors from:
-Calling repeatedly or calling before 8:00 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
-Calling people at work if the consumer tells the collector that he or she may not receive phone calls at work
-Discussing the debt with third parties such as family members, friends or employers
-Calling without identifying themselves as debt collectors
-Using threatening or harassing language when calling
-Threatening the consumer with arrest or jail time
-Sending letters designed to look like court documents
-Continuing to contact the consumer after receiving a written request to cease contact
Dealing With creditors
People can take steps to protect themselves from creditor harassment. Creditors are obligated to provide consumers with documentation of the debt upon request and have five days in which to provide the information. People should ask for these records so they can check for accuracy.
People can also write letters to their creditors telling them to stop contacting them. This does not eliminate a person's liability for the debt, but the creditors may no longer call trying to collect on the debt. It is important that people send such letters via certified mail so they have proof that the creditors received the letters.
People should also keep records of the dates and times of collection calls and make notes or recordings of what the collection agents say. This information is important if the creditor refuses to stop harassing the consumer, because the consumer could file a lawsuit against the collector for violating the FDCPA.
Those who are dealing with creditor harassment should seek the assistance of a skilled debt collection harassment attorney who can advise them of their options.
Article provided by Thompson Law Firm
Visit us at http://www.arizonalegaladvocacy.com/---
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