If you’re buried in debt and are struggling to find a way out, you have enough problems to worry about without being harassed by debt collectors. You should know that Federal law protects consumers from certain aggressive tactics by debt collectors
It can be incredibly stressful to hear the phone ring over and over again, and you simply wish that the debt collectors would go away. No one would dare say that the situation is easy to go through, but you could make it a little bit more bearable by knowing your rights as a consumer.
Debt collectors must follow certain rules when contacting you. They may not call you in the middle of the night to harass you, since they are obligated to call during normal business hours. They may not threaten you or use profanity when contacting you.
You certainly don’t need to be threatened on the phone when you are already in this stressful situation. If you are, you have the right to complain to the creditor to which you owe the debt as well as your state consumer protection agency. It may take a pretty big violation for you to bring a lawsuit against them, but it is possible.
In serious cases you may actually have your debt canceled so that the debt collection agency does not have to go to small claims court and defend itself against your lawsuit. Again, it might take repeated violations and you probably need some witnesses, but do keep the option of a lawsuit in mind.
Some unscrupulous characters have even been known to show up at your door and pretend to work for the sheriff’s office while demanding you hand over your possessions. In this situation, call the police instead of giving in to their demands.
Of course if you do have the means to pay off your bills in a timely manner, you should do so as soon as possible. However, if you’re like the many people who have gotten behind and cannot afford to pay off their debts all at once, don’t panic. It’s not worth losing your health over this. Still, you should try to pay whatever amount you can to keep the companies from pursuing legal action against you.
These tips may not eliminate your debt by themselves, but it always helps to know your rights as a consumer. While you should do your best to honor your debts, you don’t have to put up with unreasonable methods from debt collectors.