The government passed a law that protects you from debt collectors and their predatory practices. This Fair Debt Collection Practices act gives you many rights with the collections of debt.
They are not allowed to contact you late at night, harass you with language, or pursue you for a debt that is not yours.
This starts with you being able to limit how and when the debt collectors can contact you. They may not call at either an inconvenient place or time nor tell any third party about your debt. This means that they may not call you at work if you tell them not to, call you before 8 am or after 9 pm, and must not discuss your debt with ay third parties (family, friends, or employers).
If you have an attorney, they must deal with them rather than you. Also, you have the right to tell them to stop contacting you entirely. You must do this in writing for it to be enforced, according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Fortunately, the Financial Protection Bureau maintains sample letters that you can use to set up your request.
According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, these collectors may not use any deceptive, false, or misleading information in order to collect a debt. If they are behaving too aggressively or abusively, this could be a warning that the debt collector is a scammer.
Determining this can save you the costly errors of paying for a debt that is not yours.
Remember that debt collectors are required by law to answer questions honestly, yet they can choose not to answer them as well. This means that they are not allowed to misrepresent the dollar amount of the debt in question, if it has exceeded the statute of limitations, or their legal avenues if you do not repay the debt.
They also may not threaten to take any of your property or actually take it unless it is allowed by a specific law. Collectors may not collect more than owed on a given debt (which can include fees and interest).
How to Use the Fair Credit Billing Act to Your Advantage
The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the ability to dispute any charges a credit card issuer claims that you made. The particulars are that you have 60 days from first receiving the bill in order to dispute the relevant charge with the credit card issuer.
Charges have to be in excess of $50 to be eligible.
The date or amount could be wrong, you might not have authorized them, or they could have calculation errors. It may be that you did not receive the service or good promised, which is also grounds for a dispute.
In order to use the act to your advantage, you must do an in writing complaint and mail it to the creditor. If you need a sample letter, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s site and use theirs. Your creditor will then have up to 30 days to acknowledge their receipt of this complaint. They are given two full billing cycles to finish their investigation. In this time, the creditor can not charge interest on the charged amount, attempt to collect it, or report you as late to the bureaus.
Such rights only apply to the disputed amount though.
Should the credit’s research determine that the dispute charge was not valid, they have to correct the mistake and refund all interest or fees correlated with it. If they determine there was no error, they must explain all findings and provide documentation establishing it. You then have 10 more days to challenge the results of their investigation.
If your card has been stolen or lost, you area allowed to make your disputes over the phone or their website instead of in writing. Your liabilities are always limited to $50 in such a case, though most creditors will pay this too.