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What are the laws governing debt collection rights for customers?

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Laws governing debt collection rights include a debt collector having to validate any debt the collector is attempting to collect, the Federal Trade Commission says. The law also mandates that a debt collector cannot contact a debtor before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and a debt collector cannot contact a debtor at her place of employment if the debtor asks the collector to cease reaching out to her at work.

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The debt collector cannot harass or abuse the debtor or any third-party he contacts about the debt, the FTC explains. He cannot threaten harm or violence, use profane language or publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts.

A debt collector cannot falsely claim he represents the government or that he is an attorney, and he cannot tell a debtor she has committed a crime, the FTC warns. A debt collector cannot misrepresent the amount of money a debtor owes or falsely state the debt collector works for a credit reporting agency.

A debt collection agency cannot tell a debtor she faces arrest if she doesn't pay the debt or that the agency plans to garnish, attach or sell property unless the law otherwise permits it to do so, the FTC says. Lastly, a debt collector cannot give false credit information to anyone about the debtor, including a credit reporting agency.

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