What is a debt collection agency?
When you get behind on payments, the creditor (bank, credit card company, or medical provider) may send your debt to another company for collection.
How do I know my debt has been sent to a collector?
Usually, you will get a letter from the collection agency telling you it is collecting the debt. The letter will explain that you have 30 days to tell the collector if you dispute the debt. If you dispute the debt, the collector cannot contact you again until it sends you proof of the debt.
How do I stop debt collector calls?
You can send a letter to the collector telling it not to contact you. When the collector gets your letter, it cannot contact you, except to tell you it plans to sue you in court.
Can a debt collector call me at any time?
A debt collector cannot call you at unreasonable times (before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.).
Are there things a debt collector cannot do when it collects a debt?
A debt collector cannot:
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, or your property,
- Use dirty or bad language,
- Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts,
- Call many times a day, or
- Lie or make false statements.
For example, a debt collector cannot:
- Claim you have committed a crime,
- Make you think it is someone else (like a lawyer or sheriff),
- Threaten to put you in jail,
- Say it operates or works for a credit reporting agency,
- Misrepresent the amount you owe,
- Indicate that papers it sent are legal forms if they aren’t, or
- Tell you they are going to garnish your Social Security or other benefits.
What do I do if I think a debt collector has done something illegal?
File a complaint with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/. You should also talk to a lawyer about your legal remedies under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.