If you have outstanding bills for medical expenses, credit cards, or other debts that you cannot pay, then chances are good that you are familiar with phone calls from bill collectors. Debt collectors can be relentless in their pursuit of money, and the incessant phone calls may become a major source of stress and frustration. Even if you stop answering the phone, you may receive voicemails from bill collectors on a daily basis.
You don’t have to put up with these calls and messages. You know that you owe money, and these constant reminders do nothing but add strain to your life. If you are being harassed by debt collectors, learn more about your options to stop the abuse.
Debt collectors must follow specific rules set up by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Under this federal statute, bill collectors cannot take several actions, including harassing your family members, calling your place of work, threatening you with jail, or contacting you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
While these rules are clear and well-established, many debt collectors violate the law on a daily basis. Some of them are bold enough to violate these rules in a voicemail, which may serve as evidence of an FDCPA violation. If you do receive voicemails from a bill collector, save them and review them with an attorney experienced in FDCPA cases.
In addition to voicemails, you may receive pre-recorded phone calls from debt collectors. These are often made using an automatic dialing system. The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits these types of automated calls unless you have given a company or a bill collector prior consent to contact you. Often, people give this type of consent in the fine print of a contract or other agreement when purchasing a service or applying for credit.
Even if you have given prior consent, the FDCPA allows you to request that the debt collector stop contacting you. In order to do this, you must send the debt collector a written notice that says that you do not want any further communication, or that you refuse to pay the alleged debts. Once this notice is received, the debt collector may no longer contact you except in certain situations. For example, the debt collector may be able to contact you to let you know that collection efforts are being terminated, or that the debt collector intends to file a lawsuit.
Owing money doesn’t mean that you don’t have rights. If you are being harassed by bill collectors who refuse to stop contacting you, then you may be able to file a lawsuit and seek compensation. At the law firm of Fitzgerald Campbell, our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the FDCPA rules and regulations, as well as decades of experience representing clients in all types of debtor defense cases.