Missourians who find themselves in debt and barraged by debt collectors might think they must take the constant harassment, and there is little they can do to stop it. The truth is that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides certain protections to consumers regarding communication. Knowing the rules creditors and debt collectors must follow is a sure way to get them to adhere to it. If they fail to do so, it can be the basis for a legal filing. And, having legal assistance can also protect consumers from other practices that violate the law.
There are certain rules that the collector must adhere to when communicating about debt. The collector cannot communicate with the consumer at an unusual time or location that would be known as inconvenient.
It is presumed that convenient times will range from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., local time. When the debt collector is aware that the consumer is represented by a lawyer as to the debt and the contact information of the lawyer can be readily acquired, the collector must contact the attorney, unless the attorney fails to respond in a reasonable time frame. The consumer’s place of work cannot be contacted, if the collector knows that the consumer cannot receive calls while working.
Without consent from the consumer that was given directly to the collector, third parties cannot be contacted, except for the attorney, a consumer reporting agency, the creditor, a legal representative for the creditor or the debt collector’s attorney. When the consumer tells the collector in writing that the debt is not going to be paid or that the consumer wants the contact to stop, the collector can no longer initiate contact unless: it is to tell the consumer that the efforts are stopping; to inform the consumer that the collector or creditor is taking steps to collect the debt; or to inform the consumer that the collector or creditor is planning a remedy to the debt.
Often, it is not the debt itself and everything that accompanies it in the person’s financial life that is the most worrisome issue, but the constant communication attempts made by the debt collectors. Understanding how the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects consumers from these behaviors is part of what a legal professional does. Calling a lawyer is crucial to making these unwanted calls stop and to deal with the debt.