Do you now your rights when it comes to debt collectors?
From rules about calling to what they're required to tell you, there are some basics you should know.
Take our quiz to test your knowledge!
1. A DEBT COLLECTOR IS ALLOWED TO CALL...
A. Your work
B. Before 8 a.m.
C. Neither if you let the debt collector know
2. WHAT MUST DEBT COLLECTORS TELL YOU?
A. How much and who you owe
B. How long ago you owed the debt
C. What they've done to try and collect
3. WHEN CAN A DEBT COLLECTOR CALL AFTER YOU'VE SAID NOT TO IN WRITING?
A. To tell you they won't contact you again
B. Tell you what action they're taking
C. None of the above
Scroll down to see the answers...
1. C: Neither if you let the debt collector know
A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it. And collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (orally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.
Debt collectors can contact you by phone, letter, email or text message to collect a debt, as long as they follow the rules and disclose that they are debt collectors. No matter how they communicate with you, it’s against the law for a debt collector to pretend to be someone else - like an attorney or government agency - or to harass, threaten or deceive you.
2. A: How much and who you owe
Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.
3. A: To tell you they won't contact you again
If a collector contacts you about a debt, you may want to talk to them at least once to see if you can resolve the matter - even if you don’t think you owe the debt, can’t repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector - in writing - to stop contacting you. Here’s how to do that:
Make a copy of your letter. Send the original by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit.
Click here to learn more from the Federal Trade Commission about your rights and debt collectors.
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