Deep in Debt? Know Your Rights
If you're behind on a bill, such as a credit card, car loan or medical bill, you may find yourself in the crosshairs of a debt collector. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you from overzealous or nasty tactics. Here's what debt collectors can and can't do.
- Contact you in person, by mail, telephone, telegram or fax.
- Call you at work if your employer doesn't mind.
- Contact others to get your address, phone number and where you work.
- Contact you if you haven't instructed them not to.
- Tell you what they plan to do ? without threatening, cursing or repeatedly calling you.
- Contact you at inconvenient times and places unless you agree.
- Call you at work if the collector knows your employer disapproves.
- Tell anyone other than your attorney that you owe money.
- Contact you if you've told them, in writing, to stop ? other than to confirm your request or notify you of their intent to take a specific action.
If you believe a debt collector has gone too far, contact your state attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission or 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).