You never know when a financial crisis will hit, whether globally, nationally or on a much more personal level. You may be one of many in Tennessee who recently suffered unexpected job loss or faced a medical emergency, the associated expenses of which you were completely unprepared to meet. In fact, financial problems are really a basic part of life, and most are temporary. It’s all about knowing what options are available to help you overcome a particular problem in as swift and economically feasible a manner as possible.
The problem is that financial crisis often leads to another issue: unlawful debt collections. You are definitely obligated to pay back any debt you owe; however, a third-party agency is not free to act abusively to try to collect a debt from you. The key to stopping such harassment is to know your rights ahead of time and where to turn for support when needed.
Debt collectors must play by the rules
May a debt collector call you at home to talk about paying a debt you owe to another party? What about calling you at work — is that allowed? The answers depend on several other factors that can mean the difference between appropriate debt collection actions and unlawful behavior. The following facts further explain these issues:
- A third-party debt collector has permission to contact you by phone, postal mail or even in person. However, regulations apply, such as calling you only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Acting outside the set parameters may be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- If your employer has a policy against debt collectors calling your place of employment to try to collect a debt, all collection agencies must adhere to that policy and refrain from contacting you at work.
- There is a major difference between calling you to attempt to collect a debt and verbally abusing or otherwise harassing you. No collections agent may issue threats of any kind.
- Transparency is key to fair debt collection practices. If an agent misrepresents his or her identity or any information pertaining to your debt situation, you may act under the FDCPA to protect your rights.
There are also debt relief options that prevent debt collectors from contacting you or attempting in any way to collect a debt from you. You may not be eligible for every option, so it often helps to consult with someone well-versed in debt relief law to help determine which path may be the most viable to take in your particular situation.