ARE YOU BEING HARASSED BY DEBT COLLECTORS?
If you are receiving phone calls from debt collectors more than likely they are calling you in excess. Debt collectors may impersonate the authorities in an effort to scare you into paying the debt. It is important for you to know that you have legal protections afforded to you by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides strict laws and regulations that affect almost every third-party debt collector in the country. Collectors cannot:
- Threaten force, violence, or defamation;
- Use obscene, profane, or abusive language;
- Publish the names of alleged debtors;
- Place phone calls with a frequency that is intended to harass;
- Misrepresent the amount, nature, or origin or an alleged debt;
- Impersonate law enforcement or another authority;
- Misrepresent the potential penalties for nonpayment, including telling alleged debtors they will be prosecuted, imprisoned, or their wages will be garnished (unless garnishment is actually authorized by a court);
- Add charges or fees not authorized by the original agreement;
- Solicit or demand an excessively postdated check; or
- Threaten to repossess property when the right to do so does not actually exist.
The state of Alabama has additional laws that can help protect you. An attorney can help you understand your rights and may be able to take actions like:
- Sending a letter demanding communication with the debtor to stop;
- Requesting validation and calculations of the debt; and
- Sending a letter to contest the debt.
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