If you work hard to make ends meet, you do not need to be threatened or harassed by a debt collector or a collection agency. In Tennessee, if you are being harassed or threatened about a debt, you need the services and advice that a can provide.
Some people get phone calls from debt collectors at work or late in the evening. Some have actually been threatened. Hard-working Tennesseans don’t deserve to be intimidated and disrespected.
If you’re being threatened by a debt collector or a collection agency, how can you make it stop? The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) makes such debt collection methods illegal. Continue reading to find out what debt collectors can and can’t do legally in order to collect a debt, and you will also learn how a will help you stop the intimidation and threats.
Who is Considered a Debt Collector?
The FDCPA is a federal statute that protects your consumer rights. It establishes the legal penalties that debt collectors can face if they violate those consumer rights. The law applies exclusively to debt collectors, the persons or agencies that collect debts on behalf of others.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to original creditors who are collecting debts owed directly to them unless an original creditor collects its debts using a different company name.
However, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does apply to a debt purchasing company when debt collecting is the debt purchasing company’s main business activity.
What Does The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Provide?
A debt collector may not threaten you, abuse you, harass you, or use any violence whatsoever, and a debt collector may not place your property or your reputation at risk. The FDCPA also provides that debt collectors cannot:
- fail or refuse to identify themselves over the phone
- publicly identify you as a person in debt
- call you repeatedly or use abusive or obscene language
- try to collect an amount that is more than you actually owe
- send inaccurate reports to credit bureaus
- inaccurately characterize the amount you owe
- threaten you with legal consequences that will not or cannot happen
Additionally, debt collectors may not contact your family members except for your spouse, your parents if you are under age 18, or to determine your whereabouts.
If a loved one other than your parents or spouse is called by a debt collector, that debt collector must give his or her name and may ask only about your location. No other questions are allowed.
What is Allowed for Debt Collectors?
It’s legal for a debt collector to call you on the phone or to send you a text message, an email, or a letter through the U.S. Postal Service. However, a debt collector may not call you earlier than 8:00 a.m. or later than 9:00 p.m. without your consent.
Debt collectors also cannot contact you at work after being told that you cannot take personal calls at your workplace.
What Are Your Rights as a Consumer?
When a debt collector or a collection agency calls you, it is essential to know and understand your legal rights. You do not have to tolerate threats or other abusive collection practices. If a debt collector verbally abuses or threatens you on the phone, hang up and block that number.
If you’re threatened by a debt collector, or if you are victimized by any other unlawful debt collection tactic, schedule a consultation at once to discuss your legal rights and options with a Kingston debt defense attorney.
When a debt collector learns that you have hired a debt defense lawyer, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires the debt collector to contact only your attorney – and to leave you alone.
What Can You Do About Abusive Debt Collectors?
In the most egregious cases, when debt collectors violate the rights of consumers, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act gives consumers the right to sue a collection agency or a debt collector for harassment. Consumers are sometimes compensated for the harassment they have suffered.
If your attorney prevails with a civil lawsuit against a debt collector or collection agency that has threatened or harassed you, the compensation you receive will depend on the extent and nature of the threat or harassment.
If you are being threatened or harassed by a debt collector or a collection agency, a Kingston debt defense lawyer can review your situation and recommend the best path forward. The right debt defense attorney can find ways to resolve the most challenging debt problems.
What Else Can a Debt Defense Attorney Do for You?
If you’re in debt, and if you want to learn more about your consumer rights, or if it’s time to bring a lawsuit in response to harassment or threats from a collection agency or a debt collector, make the call now and schedule a consultation with a Tennessee debt defense attorney.
If you cannot pay the debts you currently owe, a Tennessee debt defense lawyer will represent you and advise you if:
- You are threatened or harassed by a debt collector.
- Your home is at risk for foreclosure.
- Your vehicle is at risk for repossession.
- Your wages are garnished by a creditor, debt collector, or collection agency.
- You are being sued for a debt.
Lawsuits, Foreclosures, and Bankruptcy
If you are the target of a debt lawsuit, a Tennessee debt collection attorney will defend you in court and work for a payment arrangement that you can afford, usually by having the lawsuit dismissed or by negotiating a settlement and payment plan that doesn’t devastate your finances.
Tennessee homeowners who face imminent foreclosure can learn more about short sales, bankruptcy, and their other options by arranging to speak with a debt defense attorney as soon as they are informed about the foreclosure.
Finally, if your debts are so overwhelming that you are considering bankruptcy, filing for bankruptcy can put a halt to creditor harassment, lawsuits, and foreclosures. Bankruptcy, however, is a drastic, last-resort measure, and it may or may not be the right option for you.
A Kingston debt collection lawyer can stop an abusive debt collector, discuss bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy, help you find a practical, effective way to settle your debts, and help you get the debt collectors out of your life, but you must take the first step and make the call.