Debt Collectors: 5 Things They Can or Can’t Do
Debt collectors don’t always receive the positive praise they sometimes deserve. Without the thankless work debt collectors perform, many businesses would be unable to collect past due accounts. A business often turns insolvent when it can’t collect money owed. Even the people the agency chases for money benefit from the company’s work. By paying off past-due debts, it becomes easier to get a financial house in order.
Unfortunately, the past actions of debt collection agencies gave these businesses bad reputations. Harassment became an all too common occurrence. Rules and regulations were established to reverse negatives associated with collections. Nowadays, debt collectors must accept limitations regarding what they can and cannot do. Here are five such examples:
Debt Collectors Can’t Ignore Requests to Cease Contact
Under the law, if you tell a debt collector to stop contacting you, the debt collector must comply. You must make the request in writing. In doing so, you inform the debt collector you realize an attempt is being made to collect money. No reason exists to contact you again. All those annoying phone calls then stop.
Debt Collectors Can Take Further Action
Legal action, however, doesn’t stop. Although the debt collection firm won’t call or write anymore, a lawsuit can be filed to collect the obligation. The credit bureau will also learn of any defaults. Don’t think the debt collection service’s lack of contact now means no more action. You legally owe the debt. The debtor and his/her representative have the right to remedy the situation.
Debt Collectors May Contact Third Parties – Limitations Apply
Collecting a debt becomes difficult when the collection agency doesn’t know where you are. Contacting third parties becomes a viable option for the intrepid collection agencies.
Once a third party provides contact information, interactions with third parties generally must stop. Under no circumstances may a debt collector discuss details about your debts and obligations. Disclosing private information would violate a critical debt collection statute passed by Congress.
Debt Collectors Can Act On Time-Barred Debts
Once the statute of limitations passes on a debt, the debtor has no legal recourse. A lawsuit would be dismissed since the collection became time-barred. You can be asked to pay the debt. If you decline, the matter might not end. A debt collection agency is allowed to attempt to collect on the debt. Again, you retain the right to tell the debt collection service to stop all contact.
A debt collection agency, however, cannot attempt to deceive anyone into paying a time-barred debt. Blatantly threatening to sue — while possessing full knowledge the statute of limitation expired — might get the collection agency in some trouble.
Be sure you know the rules regarding time-barred debts in your state. You don’t want to accidentally legally restart collection actions.
Debt Collectors Might Settle
Debt collectors might settle an account. They aren’t forced to settle, but they likely tell their clients partial payments appear better than nothing. A 50% settlement on the debt could prove beneficial to all parties involved. This can be a great approach towards a mutual understanding.