Almost everyone in New Jersey has debt: mortgages, car loans and credit card debt are very common. Unfortunately, getting overwhelmed by debt is also a common situation. And when someone falls behind on their payments, phone calls and letters from a debt collection agency is often the next thing to happen.
You might feel powerless to stop the endless, harassing calls from debt collectors, but you are not. As a debtor, you have rights. But before you can enforce your rights, you have to know what those rights are. Here is a brief overview of debtor rights under federal law.
How the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act helps you
A federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act limits what collection agencies can do by banning abusive or deceptive tactics, such as:
- Harassment. Debt collectors cannot contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. without your permission. They cannot contact you at work once you tell them they cannot. And when they do call, they cannot call you over and over to disrupt your life, use obscene language, or threaten violence against you.
- False statements. Lies are not allowed in debt collection. For example, collectors cannot pose as government agents, falsely claim that you have broken the law, exaggerate the amount you owe, or indicate that any papers they send you are legal documents if they are not. Nor can they claim the police will arrest you if you do not pay.
- Unfair practices. Other practices the Act bans include: contacting you by postcard, depositing a postdated check early, and taking your property or threaten to do so unless legally allowed.
When you work with an attorney on resolving your debt problems, they will advise you of these and other rights you have and help you enforce them when necessary. If you are facing mounting debts and stress from debt collectors, call Law Office of Michael P. McGuire, LLC at 732-704-7331 to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español.