If you get behind on debt in Minnesota, third-party debt collectors may soon start calling. However, many consumers don’t know that debt collection agencies can’t do anything they want. You have rights under the law to protect yourself from creditor harassment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA protects consumers from unfair debt collection practices by outlining what they can and can’t do to collect debt. Under the FDCPA, they cannot:
- Make false threats of legal action
- Use abusive or obscene language
- Make physical threats
- Threaten to arrest consumers
- Lie about who they are
- Call between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. without permission
They may call your family or neighbors for contact information, but they cannot talk to them about the debt. Under new laws passed in 2021, they may now contact you through electronic means, such as texts and social media.
They must send the communication about the debt through private messages and not post it on an open platform. The collector is only allowed to contact your attorney about the debt once you inform them that you have one.
How to stop debt collector harassment
If the collector’s harassment is causing you stress, you may send them a cease-and-desist letter. Keep a copy of the letter, and send it by registered mail so that you get a return receipt. However, it can be beneficial to keep a line of communication open with the collector as evidence. Let them know you prefer to communicate with them in writing, and they must abide by that method.
If you don’t think you owe the debt, the collector must validate the amount and the name of the creditor within five days of contacting you. Keep in mind that the cease-and-desist letter doesn’t invalidate the debt. However, don’t give banking information, promise to pay or make a payment. If the collector keeps harassing you, you can file a complaint with the FTC.