Debt Collections: Protecting Your Rights

Paying out debts is something that should be regarded as a high priority for anybody. No matter who you are if you have a series of debts you need to pay out for yourself or your business, the collections are going to be given to an agency that will help pay off the issues associated with your debt. However, you must keep in mind that while organizations that specialize in these matters have an outstanding track record, some companies can use your personal information against you while collecting your debt.

If you believe your debt collector is engaging in unfair practices against you, in regards to the payment of your debt, you should know how you are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA was passed by Congress in the year 1978 with the purpose of protecting customers from any violations that a collection agency may practice. There are many activities that a debt collector must not do in accordance to the FDCPA to ensure fair debt collection the consumer.

Be aware of your rights under FDCPA regulations

You should first note what times collection agencies should call you. Under the law, they should not call you before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM in your local timezone. If a company repeatedly calls you home with the purpose of trying to harass you, even after you have given them a note to stop, it is best recommended that you try to contact a lawyer immediately. Take note of whatever information they give you in regards to the debt, the FDCPA says companies are not allowed to misrepresent the amount of the debt.

But you should not be discouraged, if a company should misrepresent your debt, it is always good to try and find another company with a noted reputation of solving collection issues. A good avenue to turn would be finding suggestions from friends and family who have worked with collection agencies in the past to give you a sense of where to go. As soon as you find the company who might work to help fix the debt, ask them about all the regulations of the FDCPA and look for ways to work in conjunction with the law.

This might be a hard process should you feel that any of your rights are being abused, however the thing to take note of is that the majority of collection agencies have a proven track record. Any collection organization has to remember that your debt is what their focus needs to be on. Collection agencies have to place an importance on responding to all your financial obligations.

It’s always good to know your rights when dealing with a collections agency.

22 Replies to “Debt Collections: Protecting Your Rights”

  1. One of the best way to avoid debt in the first place is education. Personal finance and budgeting should be a required class for every high school senior. This should include teaching young people the laws concerning debt and bankruptcy, and the rules and regulations legitimate collection agencies must follow.

  2. Thank you for this enlightening article! I agree with what the others have said – to be extra careful when handing out personal data which can be used against you. It’s good to know, too our options and rights when it comes to debt collection.

  3. I have had a problem before where a company misinterpreted my debt. It was ridiculous because they would not even change it. I ended up going to my best friend who recommended this company and helped me to solve my debt issues. So I agree that you should not fret. There is a company out there who will protect your rights!

    1. Glad you got that handled Choco. Also, you probably could have simply gotten a free copy of your credit report and just disputed debts that you didn’t believe were accurate.

  4. Thank you for this article as this was very informative. It opened the eyes of the people to protect themselves from the bad intentions of debt collectors or debt agencies.

  5. You actually opened my eyes. It never really did occur to me that collections agencies can use my personal data for some purposes other than what is intended. Unfortunately, I live in a country where there are no consumer protection laws. I think we do have but it lacks the teeth, if you know I mean. Anyway, at the very least, your article has somehow made me think to be more extra careful with my data. kudos!

  6. This was very informative. I did not know the rights a person has against debt collectors. I didn’t even know what the FDCPA was until now.

  7. I think that you have some very good points about being careful about debt companies because they can be unscrupulous and can also take advantage of your predicament. There are some debt collection that will go out of the way to help you, like for e.g when I owed money on a store card the debt company collecting the money actually offered to reduce the debt by a small percentage if I was to pay some money upfront. I did do that and the debt did clear very fast.

  8. I am glad that I have gotten into this website as now I know my rights if ever some creditors harass me when I can’t pay my debt on time. Not that I am a habitual late-paying-debtor or plan to be one, it is just that one of the fears that get into me when I go on credit is the collection just in case I can’t pay it on time. I am surely glad I have stumbled here. Thanks to this article.

  9. Yes,these collection agencies are really a menace.They not only harass ,but also threaten to recover the amount.They misrepresent the amount.Also there is no proper acknowledgement to the amount paid to these agencies.when settling the principal amount with parent company,the payments made to these agencies may not tally with the company’s account.

    1. Yes kannan, the debt collection industry can be shady – which is all the more reason it’s so important for us citizens to know our rights and keep proper financial records.

  10. Hi,

    it was very relevant information ,as these things could be considered if we face such instances from collecting agencies.Nowadays debtors face unfair practices from collecting agencies.But as a debtor do we have any role in deciding collecting , as mostly they are fixed by the companies to whom we owe money

    1. Hi Beena, when you’re in debt you creditors have a right to collect – as long as they go about it in the proper way. The debtor really has no role in deciding or controlling this process UNLESS you just go ahead and pay off your debt. Then all the noise will usually stop instantly:)

  11. I have had debt collectors calling me at all hours of the night. When I told them of the laws they would tell me that its such and such a time in their area so its legal. What do you do about some companies like that? The FDCPA is a law to remember !

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your comment. Yes, debt collectors will try to play on public ignorance because they know that most people don’t know their rights -especially when it comes to debt. Debt collectors are not supposed to call you at all times on the night. They know they are supposed to abide by your time zone. But again, some will push the envelope and try to be aggressive. This is where you must let them know how smart you are;) …and if they don’t want to comply, report them!

  12. Thanks for sharing this very informative article. I agree that collection agencies should be aware of the limits of their rights under FDCPA. On the other hand, aside from knowing our rights against abusive agencies, we should also give priority to our obligation to pay our debts to avoid bigger problems in the future.

    1. Hi Chelle, any legitimate debt collection agency in the US will most definitely know their proper rights and procedures to collect; there’s no question about it! And you’re right, everyone should practice personal accountability to pay their debts and avoid bigger problems.

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