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Dealing with debt collectors

Tennesseans struggling under the stress of credit-card debt and other unpaid bills likely have had some experience with debt collectors such as letters, e-mails and phone calls. Some of these experiences likely complied with the law, while others may not have.

Debt collectors are regulated. Their behavior must follow certain laws. Yet many cross the line from legal to abusive, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That is why Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a law that protects consumers from fraudulent and abusive debt-collection efforts.

Under the Act, lenders can contact debtors via letters and phone calls. After all, it would be hard to notify debtors of their debts and to negotiate settlements of those debts without being able to take this type of action.

But the Act also requires that the letters and calls cannot be excessive; they also cannot happen in certain places and at certain times. For example, creditors cannot send letters to a debtor's employer. Likewise, creditors cannot call at irregular hours such as late at night.

What's more, the Act also allows debtors to stop the creditor from continuing to call and send letters. To put a halt to that contact, the debtor must tell the creditor in writing that the contact must stop. Still, even after this written notice, creditors can still contact under certain circumstances such as if they file a legal action against the debtor.

If creditors get abusive such as through threats, abusive language, excessive contact or deceptive practices, debtors may have legal options. To learn more about protections against creditors and what legal options might exist to collect past due credit-card debt, Tennesseans may find it helpful to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about their circumstances.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Communication in connection with debt collection," Accessed August 4, 2015

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

Toll Free: 888-376-0282
Phone: 423-933-1606
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