Did you know that debt collectors have very strict rules that they need to follow if they want to recover your debt? Not only are there many rules, but there are laws that they have to adhere to or they can be sued. A debt defense attorney can help you determine whether your debt collectors are breaking any laws. Here are a few of the most common laws that debt collectors break.
1. Calling You After Being Asked Not To
You can tell a debt collector to stop contacting you via phone and to only communicate with you via letter. This is usually much easier to deal with and it only makes sense; you want to get everything in writing, after all. If your debt collector continues calling, they can usually be penalized for each subsequent call they make. But make sure you have a record of asking them to stop calling you.
2. Threatening or Lying to You
There are many lies and threats a debt collector will use. They may say that you're going to go to jail if you don't pay your debt. They may say that they're going to garnish your wages. They may say that they're going to freeze your bank accounts. Unless your debt is with the government, none of these things are possible without a court judgment—so your debt collector is both threatening you and lying to you, which is not legal.
3. Drafting Debts From Your Account
A debt collector cannot draft anything from your account without explicit permission, even if they previously had your account information. Debt collectors may try to trick you into saying "OK" to a bank draft when they speak with you. They may use language such as, "So, I'm going to take $400 out of your account now, right?" You do not have to say yes to this, but if you do, you will have given them permission.
4. Discuss Your Debt With Your Place of Employment
Debt collectors may tell your employer or your coworkers that you're in debt. It's a method they use to shame you into paying and increase your stress levels, and it is not allowed. They cannot discuss your debt with anyone except for you (and potentially your spouse). If they do, they have committed a crime by breaching your privacy.
So what happens when the debt collectors do break these laws? There are some people who make a lot of money by going to court over these cases. The debt collectors have to pay a fine if they are found guilty of breaking these laws, in addition to restitution to you—their victim. That's why it's always best to document all interactions you have with debt collectors.
For more information, contact a law firm like Brackett & Strunk LLC.