The debtors’ rights are protected under the Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA). Creditors and debt collectors cannot handle debtors as they please. They have to be respectful and adhere to Tennessee’s guidelines on proper debt collection.
Knowing what debt collectors are not allowed to do ensures that you stand up for yourself when your rights are violated. Bankruptcy attorneys in Kingston can protect you from notorious debt collectors that try to take advantage of people struggling with debt.
How Can’t a Debt Collector Introduce Themselves?
Debt collectors bear the burden of introducing themselves to the debtor. Therefore, they are not allowed to contact you if they cannot disclose information on:
- The name of the debt collection agency
- Their contact information
- The original debtor
Anonymous calls from debt collectors are illegal. And if they decide to make the initial contact through a phone call, debt collectors should follow it up with a written letter. The letter should introduce them and the party they are collecting for and must be sent within five days from the first phone call.
Can a Debt Collector Fabricate the Amount I Owe?
Part of the information that must be included in the written introductory letter, is the amount you allegedly owe. It should also have a clause reminding you of a right to dispute the debt. If you disagree with the figures, remember to raise the issue within 30 days. It is advisable to demand debt validation in writing.
And until they provide proof, it is illegal for the debt collectors to proceed with the process. Debt collectors are forbidden from lying or misinterpreting the amount owed. The original debtor is also prohibited from adding any fees or interests on the amount due, unless agreed upon in the original contract.
What Can’t a Debt Collector Do With Regards to Phone Calls?
Debt collectors in Tennessee can only call debtors within convenient times. Unless communicated otherwise, they cannot try reaching you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m. Also, they cannot call you at work if you ask them not to. Debt collectors cannot call you too many times in a day; for instance, three or more times would be unreasonable.
Discussing the debt with third parties other than your debt collection defense attorneys or your spouse is not allowed. A debt collector should also be keen on what they tell you and avoid:
- Threatening you with wage garnishment unless the law permits it and they intend to pursue it
- Using abusive language
- Using profanities
- Threatening to have you arrested and criminally charged
Note that you are allowed to record the phone calls between you and the debt collector without telling them about it. Being a one-party-consent state, you can use the information as evidence of a debt collector’s misconduct.
Under What Circumstances Can’t Debt Collectors Contact Me?
Debt collectors are forbidden from contacting a debtor that has asked them not to. The communication to end contact must be written and mailed to the debt collector. And to ascertain that they received it, consider using certified mail that can give you a “return receipt.”
You will only receive communication from them acknowledging receipt of the letter or when they have decided to file a lawsuit against you. You can also attach your debt collection defense attorneys’ contact, and they will handle all manner of communication with the agency.
After How Long Can’t a Debt Collector Sue You in Tennessee?
While debt collectors can take you to court for failing to meet your contractual obligations, they do not have the pleasure of time. Tennessee has time limits for debt collection lawsuits, after which, the creditors cannot take legal action against you. Here are the timelines:
- 6 years for state tax debt
- 4 years for an installment loan or auto loan
- 6 years for credit card
- 6 years for a medical loan
Remember, debt collectors can still pursue you after the expiry of the statute of limitations. The only thing they cannot do after that, is suing you. Speak to Kingston debt collection defense lawyers as soon as debt collectors contact you to determine if they still have time to take your case to court.
Can a Debt Collector Take Money From My Income?
If they are within the statute of limitations, a creditor can file a lawsuit in a quest to get a court order and collect from you. Ignoring the notice for a suit can work against you because the court can give the debt collector a default judgment.
Fighting the charges is a great way to ensure that your wages and bank balances are not used to offset the debt. And if you qualify for bankruptcy, debt collection defense attorneys can help you keep exempted assets, and have the debts written off.
Which Federal Benefits Can’t a Debt Collector Collect From?
Legal access to your federal benefits usually depends on the type of creditor filing a lawsuit against you. They can only be touched to pay students’ loans, child support, alimony, or delinquent taxes. The following benefits are exempted from garnishment from other creditors:
- Federal emergency disaster assistance
- Railroad retirement benefits
- Help from the office of personnel management
- Military annuities and survivors’ benefits
- Federal student aid
- Veterans benefits
- Supplemental security income benefits
- Social security benefits
If you are worried about your federal benefits, consult with a Tennessee attorney for more information. The lawyer can enlighten you and help you explore your options in debt relief.
Attorneys Providing Legal Advice and Assistance
Debt collectors can sometimes overstep the boundaries and mishandle you. If you have no one to fight for you, you might feel helpless and end up making the wrong decisions. For instance, if a lawsuit is filed and you fail to respond for whatever reason, you might lose your assets or become a victim of garnishment.
The lawyers at Davis Law Firm can represent you and help fight for the best possible outcome. Talk to us today to benefit from our wealth of experience, knowledge, and skills.