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Collection Practices

Are you constantly being harassed by collection agencies? Constant calls and threats can drive you crazy. Collectors may even embarrass you by contacting your employer, family or neighbors. Collection Agencies may even harass you to pay a debt that's not even yours.

There are limits on how far a debt collector can go. CreditNowUSA can help you get relief from collectors.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from using unfair, abusive or deceptive practices to collect funds owed by you. Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is a person, agency, company or lawyer that collects debts on a regular basis. This includes any person, agency, company or lawyer who purchases delinquent debts and then makes attempts to collect on them.

Receive a free consultation from a professional attorney to stop the harassment.

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Some simple facts about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA):

  • What types of debts are covered? The Act covers any personal, family, or household debts, including money you owe on a personal credit card account, auto loan, medical bill, or mortgage.
  • Can a debt collector contact me at any time or place? No. A debt collector may not contact you at inconvenient times or places, such as before 8 in the morning or after 9 at night, unless you agree to it. And collectors may not contact you at work if they’re told (either verbally or in writing) that you’re not allowed to get calls there.
  • How can I stop a debt collector from contacting me? If a collector contacts you about a debt, try talking to them once to see if you can resolve the matter – even if you don’t think you owe the debt, can’t repay it immediately, or think that the collector is contacting you by mistake. If you decide after contacting the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector in writing to stop contacting you.

    Here’s how to do that: Make a copy of your letter and keep that for your records. Send the original letter by certified mail, and pay for a “return receipt” so you’ll be able to document what the collector received. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: A collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not erase the debt, but it should stop them from contacting you again in the future. Although, the creditor or the debt collector still can sue you to collect the debt.

  • Can a debt collector contact anyone else about my debt? If an attorney is representing you about the debt, the debt collector must contact the attorney rather than you. If you don’t have an attorney, a collector may contact other people – but only to find out your address, your home phone number, and where you work. Collectors usually are prohibited from contacting third parties more than once. Other than to obtain this location information about you, a debt collector generally is not permitted to discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney.
  • What does the debt collector have to tell me about the debt? Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice must also include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money. The letter needs to inform you on how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.
  • Can a debt collector keep contacting me if I don’t think I owe any money? If you send the debt collector a letter stating that you don’t owe some of or all of the money, or are asking for verification of the debt, that collector must stop contacting you. You have to send that letter within 30 days after you receive the validation notice. But a collector can begin contacting you again if it sends you written verification of the debt, like a copy of a bill for the amount you owe. Can you control which debts that payments apply to? Yes. If a debt collector is trying to collect more than one debt from you, the collector must apply any payment you make to the debt you select. Equally important, a debt collector may not apply a payment to a debt that you don’t think you owe. Can I control which debts my payments apply to? Yes. If a debt collector is trying to collect more than one debt from you, the collector must apply any payment you make to the debt you select. Equally important, a debt collector may not apply a payment to a debt you don’t think you owe.
  • What should I do if a debt collector sues me? If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights.
  • Do I have any recourse if I think a debt collector has violated the law? You have the right to sue a collector in a state or federal court within one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered because of the illegal collection practices, like lost wages and medical bills. The judge can require the debt collector to pay you up to $1,000, even if you can’t prove that you suffered actual damages. You can also be reimbursed for your attorney’s fees and court costs. Also, a group of people may sue a debt collector as part of a class action lawsuit and recover money for damages up to $500,000, or one percent of the collector’s net worth, whichever amount is lower. Even if a debt collector violates the FDCPA in trying to collect a debt, the debt does not go away if you owe it.



  • What a debt collector cannot do by law: Harass, Make False Statements or Use Unfair Practices. Let’s take a look at these in more detail:
    • Debt collectors may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact. For example, they may not: Use threats of violence or harm; publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (but they can give this information to the credit reporting companies); use obscene or profane language; or repeatedly use the phone to annoy someone.
    • Debt collectors may not make false statements when they are trying to collect a debt. For example, they may not: Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives; falsely claim that you have committed a crime; falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company; misrepresent the amount you owe; indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they aren’t; or indicate that papers they send to you aren’t legal forms if they are.
    • Unfair practices. Debt collectors may not engage in unfair practices when they try to collect a debt. For example, they may not: Try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the contract that created your debt – or your state law – allows the charge; deposit a post-dated check early; take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; or contact you by postcard.
    • Debt collectors may not: Give false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company; send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it isn’t; or use a false company name.
    • Debt collectors also are prohibited from saying that: You will be arrested if you don’t pay your debt; they’ll seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they are permitted by law to take the action and intend to do so; or legal action will be taken against you, if doing so would be illegal or if they don’t intend to take the action.
  • Can a debt collector garnish my bank account or my wages? Wage garnishment happens when your employer withholds part of your compensation to pay your debts. Your wages usually can be garnished only as the result of a court order. Do not ignore a lawsuit summons. If you do, you lose the opportunity to fight a wage garnishment. If you don’t pay a debt, a creditor or its debt collector can sue you to collect. If they win, the court will enter a judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe, and allows the creditor or collector to get a garnishment order against you, directing a third party, like your bank, to turn over funds from your account to pay the debt.
  • Can federal benefits be garnished? Many federal benefits are exempt from garnishment:
    • Social Security Benefits
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
    • Veterans Benefits
    • Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
    • Service Member's Pay
    • Military Annuities and Survivor's Benefits
    • Student Assistance
    • Railroad Retirement Benefits
    • Merchant Seamen Wages
    • Longshoremen's and Harbor Worker's Death and Disability Benefits
    • Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits
    • Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors outside the U.S.
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance

However, keep in mind that federal benefits may be garnished under certain circumstances, including paying delinquent taxes, alimony, child support, or student loans.
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