Have you been contacted by a debt collector and they are telling you that you owe more than the original debt?
In 1977 Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect consumers like yourself from the harassment and abuse of unethical debt collectors. Of course those who are owed money want to be paid, but they are legally required to go about it in a honest way while following specific guidelines.
Following the Limitations of the Law
Let’s say you owed a $500 debt and you haven’t paid on it for six months. The debt collector cannot call you and tell you have to pay $1,000 to settle the debt.
Debt collectors may be able to charge interest on the debts that they are collecting, but they have to follow the amounts stated in the original contract or go by what is permitted by law.
While there are laws about how much interest you can be charged, there are some scrupulous debt collectors out there who are going to try to get as much money as possible from you – including cash that you don’t owe.
This means you need to stand up for yourself, know your rights, and tell them you are not going to be a victim to their illegal acts.
When a debt collector harasses you, or makes illegal remarks, you need to stand up for yourself and other potential victims.
What to Do if Contacted by an Unethical Debt Collector
If you're contacted by a debt collector that is harassing you, take these steps:
Document everything about the call. Take down the number from which the call was placed, the date, the exact time, the name of the person with whom you spoke, the company they claimed they were with, the amount of the debt, and the date they said the debt was incurred.
Take your documentation and file a complaint with the FTC. The FTC can fine or even shut down debt collectors who are using illegal practices.
Collecting more than the original debt, as far exceeding the maximum interest permitted by law, is a violation of the FDCPA.
If the FDCPA has been violated, you can file a lawsuit of your own against the debt collector for as much as $1,000 per incident.
You may want to consider doing this to show them you are standing up for your rights and you want unethical debt collection agencies shut down!
Consult with a credit harassment attorney. These lawyers specialize in helping consumers deal with bad debts and debt collectors, including those who do business unethically and illegally.
An attorney can protect your rights and stop credit harassment in its tracks.
Get Legal Help
If you are being harassed by debt collectors for old debts, you may be nervous, insecure, and ashamed.
You shouldn’t be! Get a legal professional to help you make it through the situation. A debt collection attorney can help you get the settlement you deserve if you’ve been harassed by a third-party debt collector.