CNN just put up a fascinating story on debt collectors and collection agencies that are abusive towards consumers. This is something that we are seeing more and more of as Alabama consumers are becoming targeted by abusive collectors as the economy continues to seem to slow down.
Here are some excerpts from this excellent story:
In one case a collector threatened to call a woman’s place of work “until she lost her job,” according to the National Consumer Law Center.
In another case, a collector threatened to send the police to the person’s workplace to arrest them, said Joe Ridout of Consumer Action.
The Better Business Bureau received a complaint about a debt collector contacting someone’s grandmother four-to-five times a day, using threats like, “if she dies, then her life insurance can pay this debt off.”
John Fugate, a Texas consumer attorney relates a story about a rogue debt collector. The debt collector told the “9-year-old child of my college friend, who is the victim of identity theft, that they were going to take her mommy away forever.”
The CNN story goes on to summarize some important rights:
But here are some basic rights:
# A debt collector cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you agree.
# You cannot be contacted at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves.
# If you don’t want to hear from a debt collector, write a letter telling them to stop. By law, they have to. Remember, the debt won’t go away and you can still be sued.
# The debt collector can contact your attorney — if you have one. If not, your friends and family can be asked about how to get in touch with you.
# A debt collector can’t misrepresent the amount of your debt.
# A debt collector also cannot use profane or threatening language
# Debt collectors can’t say that they will put a lien on your property or file a lawsuit unless the agency really means to do that and it’s legal.
# Collectors can’t legally claim federal benefits, such as Social Security or your retirement accounts, like your IRA or 401(k).
If you have been attacked by abusive debt collectors, contact a consumer attorney who has experience in fighting back and suing abusive collection agencies. The only way to discourage abusive collectors is to sue them which will encourage collectors to go about collecting in an honorable and legal manner.
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