Watch Out For These 5 Illegal Debt Collection Practices

Being in debt is hard enough without having to deal with unscrupulous and threatening debt collectors. The good news is that there are laws in place, both at the federal and state levels, that are designed to protect people who owe debts from prohibited debt collector tactics. Watch out for the following actions, and if you experience any one of them, call us at 816-399-5733 right away!

1) They pretend to be someone else. This is one of the most prolific practices today. Debt collectors have been known to impersonate lawyers, government officials, and even the police when contacting debtors about collecting on their debt. This is absolutely illegal as debt collectors are required to honestly identify themselves and the company they work for.    

2) They make false statements. Debt collectors may state that you have committed a crime, may misrepresent that amount of your debt, may identify themselves to you under a false name, and may lie about documents that they send to you being legal or official government documents. They are specifically prohibited by law from:

  • Telling you that you will be arrested for not paying your debt
  • They intend to bring a legal action against you even though it is illegal or they actually do not intend to do so, or
  • They will seize your property and sell it even though it is illegal or they do not intend to do it.

Debt collectors are also prohibited from giving false information to credit reporting agencies.  

3) They harass you. One of the most effective methods debt collectors have is to harass and threaten debtors into paying their debt. For example, debt collectors are prohibited by law from:

  • Threatening harm or violence
  • Publishing the names of debtors (but they can give information to your reporting agency)
  • Using foul or obscene language or making repeated phone calls, or
  • Unless you agreed to it, phone calls at odd hours

4) They keep contacting you after you’ve told them not to. If you have decided that you do not want the debt collector to contact you again, you have the right under the law to send them a letter to that effect. Once the debt collector receives the letter, they are obligated under the law not to contact you again except to tell you either that they will not contact you again or that they are taking legal action against you due to the debt. Be sure to send the letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof that the collector did in fact receive it.  

5) They don’t give you information about your debt. By law, the debt collector is required to send to you a notice in writing of the details of your debt, including the amount that is owed, the name of the party to whom the money is owed, and what to do if you disagree with the debt. This validation letter must be sent to you within five days after you are first contacted by the debt collector. If upon receipt of this letter, you determine that you do not owe the amount, you have 30 days to write to the debt collector advising them of the mistake or requesting verification of the debt. Upon receipt of this letter, the debt collector must stop contacting you until they send you written verification of the debt, such as a copy of the particular bill.

Contact Us

You do not have to face debt collectors and their shady practices alone, however. Having a skilled and experienced attorney at your side can help you fight back against these illegal practices. Attorney Tim Starosta wants to help you push back against debt collectors. Call us at 816-399-5733 today to get started.  

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The Starosta Law Firm LLC

The Starosta Law Firm is a small firm dedicated to providing every client with the customized representation they require, no matter what type of situation they are facing.

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