If you have unpaid bills, you may dread answering the phone because the call may be from creditors wanting their money. Many Americans experience difficulties managing their debts, and they often must deal with harassing communications from collection agencies. Debt collection laws define the ways that creditors can address outstanding balances.
Creditors must follow rules
Your inability to pay your obligations does not entitle anyone to harass you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act sets forth rules that debt collectors must follow.
Some of these rules are:
- Debt collectors can only call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and they are not allowed to make frequent calls to annoy you
- Written communication cannot include language used to embarrass you
- All communications must be professional and cannot include swearing or threatening statements
- Collectors cannot misrepresent themselves by lying about the debt or their intent to collect any outstanding balance or by pretending to be a government agency, court representative or a lawyer
- Collection agencies must follow strict guidelines that govern contacting your employer and family members
- Debt collectors must cease contacting you if you request it in writing
Bankruptcy stops collection calls
If you file for bankruptcy, your creditors can no longer contact you directly about your unpaid debt. There are six bankruptcy chapters in the United States; the chapter you file for depends on your financial situation.
There is no reason to feel embarrassed if you file for bankruptcy. The federal government established bankruptcy procedures to allow consumers to clear their debt because many people find themselves in unmanageable financial situations. Know your rights, and do not allow creditors to harass you.