Collection Agency Laws: Can they Come to My Home or Work?
Absolutely under no circumstances can a collection agency come to your home or work for the purpose of debt collection. The Fair Debt and Credit Protection Act has an outline of when and where they can contact you, and coming to your home is not one of them. An egregious violation of the act can allow the debtor to claim damages in court.
How a Creditor Can Contact You
A collection agency has only so many ways they can contact you. It's beneficial for the debtor to understand the whens, whys, and hows of the act. If you suspect that the collector is abusing the act, keep a log for future action.
- Contact can only occur over the phone between the hours of 8am and 9pm local time.
- Phone slamming is prohibited. This means that the collector cannot constantly cause your phone to ring in an effort to make you pick it up.
- Attempts to contact you at work must cease if the employer does not allow it.
- Any contact of family members except a spouse are restricted to confirming name, address, and telephone number. The attorney can be contacted to discuss the case.
- Attempts to discuss the debt with them is illegal.
- Abusive language and/or swearing is disallowed. A debtor does not have to accept anything other than civil conversation on the phone
- Communications over the phone must cease upon request in writing, by the debtor. Subsequent communication must be by letter.
- Communications must cease when the debtor has obtained an attorney.
A Creditor Must Also Provide Information
A creditor must adhere to the laws when contacting you for debt collection purposes. They are:
- Identification of themselves to the debtor and the reason as to why they are calling. Most agencies have an automated message to satisfy this rule.
- A lawsuit has to be filed in the correct court venue. That is, they cannot file a lawsuit in their home jurisdiction. A debtor can move to vacate the suit because it was improperly filed and succeed.
- Provide the name and address of the original creditor upon written request by the debtor.
- They must inform the debtor of their right to verify dispute the debt. This must be done within five days of the initial contact.
Finding yourself constantly being contacted by debt collection agencies means you're possibly about to get into deeper problems. It's wise to at least consult an attorney to help enforce your rights against the collector. In the case that an agency is being abusive in its contact with you, keep a log. Your lawyer can file a suit against them to claim damages. The more proof you have, the better.