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What's included in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

Knowing that you owe someone money might bring up feelings of wanting to get them paid off as soon as possible. When the person you owe is a business or agency and you are unable to pay, you might end up having your account sent to a collection agency.

Collection agencies are known for being ruthless when it comes to collecting the debts turned over to them. Some consumers don't realize that there are specific laws that govern the actions and behavior of debt collectors who work for these agencies.

What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

The FDCPA includes the information about what debt collectors can and can't do. It also sets penalties for what happens when they don't comply with the laws. While consumers aren't required to know what's in this act, it can behoove you to know just in case you have to deal with a collection agency.

When can debt collectors contact you?

Debt collectors can't contact you around the clock. Instead, they are only allowed to contact you from 8 in the morning through 9 at night. The only way that they can contact you outside of those hours is if you ask them to. For example, if you get off work at 5 in the morning and go to sleep at 8 in the morning, you might ask that they contact you during the period you are awake after work.

Where can they contact you?

They are allowed to contact you at your home or business. If you ask them to stop contacting you at work, they can't call that number again. This notice can be written or verbal. If you don't want them to contact you at home, you must provide a written statement. In this case, you should send it with a return receipt requested so you can prove that the agency received the notification.

What other limitations are present?

Debt collectors can't harass you in an effort to receive a payment. They can't lie or use obscene language. They can't issue threats, including you being arrested or being physically harmed, when they are trying to collect. They also can't say they are going to sue you unless they are ready to take you to court.

What is a validation notice?

Once they contact you, they have to send out a validation notice that states who owns the debt, how much you owe, and what steps to take if you don't think you owe the money. If you have any doubt about the validity of the debt, take the steps noted in the letter.

If you are the victim of creditor harassment, you have specific rights. You might choose to take legal action, so ensure that you know your responsibilities in these cases.

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