If you are facing a mountain of bills that are piling up, you may also be receiving phone calls from debt collectors regarding the amounts that you owe your creditors. You may be considered filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get a fresh financial start and eliminate your debt or reorganize your debt into a payment plan. During this period of time, if you continue to receive calls from creditors or debt collectors that are harassing you, you should know that you have legal rights to protect yourself from these phone calls or other attempts to communicate with your regarding your debt.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a federal law that establishes guidelines for how and when a debt collector may attempt to collect a debt. This law essentially protects debtors and makes illegal any type of abusive, deceptive, or unfair practices regarding the attempt to collect a debt. Your debt will still be valid, however, debt collectors have specific restrictions on how they may attempt to contact you and collect the debt.
If a debt collector attempts to contact you, they must provide the following information:
- The name of the creditor
- The amount of debt owed
- A statement that indicates the debtor may request the name and address of the original creditor
- That the debtor has a legal right to dispute the debt
Along with this legally required information, a debt collector must send you a written notice within the first five days after their initial contact. Remember to always be cautious about sharing or providing any personal information to anyone over the phone or in any kind of communication.
There are several restrictions placed on debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Some of those include the following:
- Debt collectors are not allowed to contact a debtor at any unusual time or place
- They are never to contact a debtor either before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- If a debt collector has knowledge that a debtor is not allowed to receive calls at work, then the debt collector may not contact a debtor at his/her place of employment.
- Debt collectors may never harass the debtor.
- If a debtor is being represented by an attorney, they must not contact the debtor but contact the attorney instead.
- Debt collectors are required to tell the truth, and never misrepresent how much is owed or threaten any punishment to the debtor that is not truthful.
- Debt collectors may not collect any charges or fees that are illegal.
Additionally, a debt collector must cease all contact with a debtor if requested to do so except to tell a debtor that they will no longer contact them, or that a legal action such as a lawsuit is being brought against a debtor.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
If you are facing debts and feel overwhelmed, you may benefit from the fresh start that bankruptcy provides. Contact a Jupiter bankruptcy attorney at the office of Julianne Frank, Esq. to help you examine your current financial situation and help you with your next steps. Call our legal team at (561) 220-2528 for a free consultation today.