As a Tennessee bankruptcy attorney, I know many folks experience a specific kind of dread when a debt collector calls. Calls from collection agencies can not only interrupt your dinner, they can leave you feeling afraid, worried, shamed, and probably even a healthy dose of anger.
Debt collection tactics are supposed to follow guidelines set under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA). But even with these guidelines debt collectors are overwhelming at best and illegal at worst. Many people don’t have a real grasp on the daily operations of a debt collection agency, and they use that ignorance to their advantage. Thankfully the FDCPA rules for debt collectors are being updated as of November 30, 2021, but until then, their tactics aren’t likely to change. But you deserve to know your rights. Below I’ve outlined some of the most important restrictions to know about debt collectors.
3 Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do
1. False Representation
Debt collectors cannot:
- Insinuate that they are connected to the government. Know that in most cases, any collector who claims such collections is likely lying.
- Lie about the amount you owe.
- Claim to be from a law enforcement agency.
- Falsely claim that you will be sent to prison or your property will be seized.
- Say that you’ve committed a crime if you have not.
- Claim to be an attorney or to represent an attorney.
- Use a fake name.
- Falsely claim to work for a credit bureau.
- Falsify documents.
2. Extreme or Unfair Practices
Even when empowered to collect a debt, agencies cannot use extreme or unfair practices. They cannot:
- Seek postdated checks only to threaten you.
- Use communication methods that cause you to face charges.
- Falsely threaten to seize your property.
- Deposit a postdated check before its date.
- Add unauthorized interest, fees, or charges. State law applies here.
Collection agencies cannot take action intended to harass you. Remember, the power is in your hands, if you ever feel like you are being harassed, hang up the phone and walk away. Debt collectors cannot:
- Make repeated daily phone calls.
- Though there are some exceptions in certain states, usually related to child support, they cannot publicly identify you as someone who doesn’t pay their bills.
- Use obscenities.
- Have someone call you without identifying themselves as a collector.
- Use or threaten to use violence.
- Threaten to harm you, your reputation, or your property. They also can’t threaten to harm a loved one, or their reputation or property.
Talk to a Tennessee Bankruptcy Attorney to find out how to get rid of debt collectors for good.
If you’re facing the constant stress of debt collectors, you probably have debt you can’t pay. But owing someone money doesn’t mean you deserve to be hounded day and night. Get rid of debt collectors for good with bankruptcy.
To truly be free of debt collectors, you need to deal with the debt, not with the collector. Bankruptcy has the power to stop foreclosure, wage garnishment, repossession, and constant harassment from collection agencies. Our team of experienced and compassionate Tennessee bankruptcy attorneys can help you through every step of the bankruptcy process, and get you back on track with your financial future.
Also, I want to make a quick note about debt collectors and the IRS since it’s tax season. The IRS has even more power than other collectors to seize your property. It’s never a good idea to ignore financial issues, but even more so when you’re dealing with the IRS.
If you are struggling with any kind of debt, contact us online or give us a call at (901) 327-2100 for a FREE consultation – no strings attached. We’ll talk through your particular financial situation and come up with a plan to help you get a fresh start.
If you’re ready to stop collectors in their tracks and finally get the peace of mind you deserve, give us a call today.