The abuses associated with debt collection agencies and creditor harassment are topics that have been well-documented in earlier blogs posted on this website. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act places restrictions on allowable conduct by those companies and individuals in the business of collecting delinquent consumer debt. But the statute also gives consumers rights of their own that they can exercise when confronted by debt collection efforts.
For instance, you can stop collection efforts while verifying if you actually owe a debt by simply writing a letter. Under federal law, a debt collector must notify you of your right to dispute all or part of the debt. This notification must be given to you within five days of the first contact the creditor or collection agency has with you.
You then have 30 days to send a letter in which you request a written statement verifying the debt to the person or company trying to collect the money. The creditor must respond to this request with verification of the amount of the debt and the name and address of the person or company to whom the debt was originally owed.
It is important to send the letter within the 30-day period, because doing so forces the creditor to cease all collection efforts until after the consumer is provided with the verification information. The information provided to you about the original lender can also be helpful in situations where you do not recognize a creditor’s name because the debt has been sold from one creditor to another.
Abusive debt collection practices can be unsettling. It is easy to make mistakes when confronted by threats and other forms of creditor harassment, but you do have rights that you can exercise. A Cincinnati, Ohio, bankruptcy attorney might be your best source for answers to questions and concerns you have if you are in default on payments.
While this post offers information as an overview about debt collection, it is not intended or offered as legal advice that should only be obtained from an attorney.