Know your rights and where to report abusive collection practices.

Debt collectors often call relentlessly despite being barred by law – unless given prior permission – from contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Do you owe a lot of money? You aren’t alone. One in seven Americans are pursued by a debt collector, according to a recent report from the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending.

It’s even more troubling that abuse, from aggressive collection tactics to poor record keeping, has grown along with the debt-buying industry, according to the report. But you don’t have to take the abuse. If you feel you’re being mistreated by a debt collector, remember the following:

You have legal rights. Debt collectors aren’t legally allowed to harass, intimidate, threaten or embarrass you.

“These types of illegal practices have an emotional impact on debtors and leave them feeling stressed and fearful. And guess what? That is exactly how many debt collectors like it,” says Seattle bankruptcy attorney Antoinette Davis, who is a legal analyst for the legal information and attorney-client matching site Avvo.com. “What better way to ‘encourage’ a debtor to pay a collections debt – whether owed or not – than to apply the screws and make their life so miserable they are willing to pay the debt to simply make the pain stop.”

Becky House, education and communication director for American Financial Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling and debt consolidation agency in Seattle, says she has heard many horror stories – and she’s even listened in on some calls.

A bill collector once told one of House’s clients that he had called the client’s parents and asked how they could have raised such an irresponsible person. House says her client later learned the collector wasn’t bluffing.

“During the call that I witnessed, the collector screamed at the person and their lack of ethics in paying their bills,” House says. “Ultimately, the collector shouted, ‘Well, consider yourself served,’ as if to imply the person was being served with court notice.”

You can complain. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, illegal types of harassment and intimidation include shouting profanity at you, lying to you and calling before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. (unless given permission). If you tell a collector that your employer has a policy against such calls in the workplace and not to call you there, legally, the collector has to comply.

Part of the trick in reporting an unethical debt collector is knowing who to report. That’s because collectors don’t always tell you the name of the collection agency they work for or where it’s based. Generally, the goal of a bill collector, even an ethical one, is to get you to provide your bank information and pay on the spot or set up a date to have the money withdrawn from the account.

Try to get as many details as you can about your debt in writing. “Often it is hard to get the collector to send that information in writing so that the client has a record of it,” House says.

If you have a name of the company, you can report it to the following places for abusive tactics:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB, a government agency created to make sure lenders and financial products work the way they’re supposed to, has a form on its website (consumerfinance.gov) where you can report an out-of-control debt collector.

Your state’s attorney general. On the website of the National Association of Attorneys General, naag.org, you’ll find a map listing contact information for each state’s attorney general.

The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. The ACA (acainternational.org) oversees the debt-buying industry. It may feel a little like going to the Death Star to confront Darth Vader, but if you have a legitimate beef, this association may be able to help.

You can also complain in writing to the debt collector. According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you send a letter to a debt collector, the collection agency isn’t allowed to contact you again with two exceptions: It can contact you to let you know it won’t be contacting you again, or it can contact you to let you know it’s planning to take another approach, like a lawsuit. The FTC advises keeping a copy of the letter and obtaining a return receipt for documentation.

But just because you send the agency a letter doesn’t mean you don’t owe the money, the FTC notes. If you are sued, don’t ignore the lawsuit, urges Lisa Stifler, an attorney with the Center for Responsible Lending.

“It’s a scary situation,” she says. “But the anecdotal reports indicate that even if you show up (in court), you get a better outcome than not showing up. If you don’t show up, it’s an automatic win for the debt buyer.”

“It’s a scary situation,” she says. “But the anecdotal reports indicate that even if you show up (in court), you get a better outcome than not showing up. If you don’t show up, it’s an automatic win for the debt buyer.”

Stifler says debt buyers frequently file lawsuits and take advantage of an overwhelmed court system. She says collection agencies will “robo-sign” affidavits that claim to have verified the debt, without actually verifying it. Then if the person being sued doesn’t show up in court, “that can lead to additional fallout,” Stifler says, “including frozen bank accounts and garnished wages.”

Source: money.usnews.com

About Kollect Systems

Kollect Systems is an innovative tech platform provider with BankTech and FinTech software solutions which leverage AI based decisioning and workflow technologies to help lenders perform Debt Collections & Recovery (BankTech) processes effectively and for mid-size to large scale enterprise companies (FinTech), to automate Receivables, e-Invoicing & Payments better.

Kollect’s Solutions :

    • KollectApps for Lenders (BankTech) 
    • KollectValley for Finance (FinTech)
    • KollectRepo 
    • Data Integration & Analytics

Schedule a Free Consultation

Got-a-question-Yellow

Got a Question?

We’d love to hear from you. Send us a message and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

Kollect Systems is an innovative tech platform provider with BankTech and FinTech software solutions which leverage AI based decisioning and workflow technologies to help lenders perform Debt Collections & Recovery (BankTech) processes effectively and for mid-size to large scale enterprise companies (FinTech), to automate Receivables, e-Invoicing & Payments better.

Office

Copyright © 2022 Kollect Systems Sdn. Bhd.      |      Privacy Policy