May 4, 2007, Newsletter Issue #87: Debt Collection Agency Practices

Tip of the Week

A collection agency representative must not willfully communicate with the consumer or any member of the family so frequently as could reasonably be expected to harass the consumer or their family, or willfully engage in other conduct which can reasonably be expected to annoy, abuse, or harass the consumer or any member of their family. A debt collector cannot repeatedly call a consumer on the telephone. If the consumer gets continuous calls, the consumer has a right to keep track and write down the dates and times for each call. To stop the continous phone calls, a consumer may write and send a letter to the agency, certified mail, return receipt requested, notifying the agency to stop contacting the consumer. Once the letter is received by the agency, a debt collection agency collector is prohibited from contacting the consumer again except to notify the consumer that either contact will stop or that the debt collection agency is pursuing a specific remedy.

A collection agency representative should not orally communicate with a consumer in such a manner as to give the false impression or appearance that the agency is - or is associated with - an attorney. If the debt collector calls or even implies that he is affiliated with an attorney, the consumer has a right to ask the collector to send him/her a letter on the attorney´s stationery according to fair debt collection practices.

Some factors of the Fair Debt Collection Act include that a debt collection agency representative must not communicate or threaten to communicate to anyone credit information about the consumer which he knows or should know is false. If the consumer is disputing the debt, any communication regarding the debt must also include the fact that the consumer is disputing it. If the debt collector talks to or otherwise communicates with anyone about the consumer´s credit, he cannot be law give any information which he knows or should know is incorrect.

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