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What debt collectors can and can't do

When you've fallen behind on your bills, and you know the debt collectors are after you, checking the mailbox and picking up the phone become a scary proposition. If you're in dire financial straits, you may be losing sleep at night or feeling stressed all day. If that sounds like you, here are two important things to remember: (1) there is a way out and (2) there are limits on what a creditor can do to collect your outstanding bills. 


Knowing you're protected from creditor harassment can relieve some of the more stressful parts of debt, so here are a few of the guidelines all creditors must follow according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Among other things, they have to: 

  • Tell you who they are every single time they contact you.
  • Verify the debt with you.
  • Tell you that you can dispute the debt.

By the same token, they cannot:

  • Call after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
  • Call you endlessly.
  • Keep calling after you've told them not to.
  • Call you at work.
  • Misrepresent who they are.
  • Threaten legal action without due cause.
  • Use profanity or engage in abusive language.
  • Use false information to coerce you. 

If you are facing constant calls or communication from creditors that you feel is harassment, you may want to speak with an attorney. An attorney with experience in debt relief may be able to help you stop the harassing calls and get you back on your feet financially so you can have a fresh start. 


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