Towson, MD (Vocus) May 13, 2010
Harassing phone calls from third party debt collectors can not only disrupt a consumer’s personal life, they can impact professional life as well, and some say even impact health.
When a Florida man suffered a heart attack, he needed to leave his job. Between everyday expenses and medical bills, he fell behind on his mortgage and other bills, and debt collectors began calling and calling. His widow believes the constant harassing phone calls and other tactics eventually led to the man's death, according to a CNN report.
Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to provide guidelines for third party debt collectors who are seeking to collect legitimate debts, while providing protections and remedies for consumers. Third party debt collectors include but are not limited to: collection agencies, collection law firms, and debt buyers.
The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts. It prohibits certain debt collection practices.
The following is a list from Persels & Associates of some of the prohibited collection practices: harassing you; contacting you after the collector receives written notice that the collector does not have your consent to contact you; state that you will be arrested if you do not pay the debt; continue to contact you after the collector is aware that you retained an attorney; use threats of violence or harm in an attempt to collect a debt; use obscene or profane language in an attempt to collect a debt; disclosing the debt to a third party, such as a neighbor, friend, or relative; making false or misleading statements; and contacting you at your place of employment when you informed the collector that you and your employer do not consent to such contact and that the contact must cease.
So how do you get those phone calls from third party debt collectors to stop?
The first thing consumers need to do is let the third party collector know they must stop calling. Write a “Cease and Desist” letter and send it to the third party debt collector. This letter should include your name, account information, and request that the third party debt collector cease and desist all contact concerning the alleged debt, and that any further communication should be in strict compliance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Make sure to send this letter via certified mail return receipt requested so you will have evidence the letter was received.
Keep A Log of Harassing Calls
Get a spiral notebook and keep it with a pen by your home telephone. If they’re calling your cell, keep a pad of paper with you. Write down the date and time of each call, the name of the collector who contacted you and the creditor they represent. If you think your FDCPA rights were violated, you should contact an attorney.
Hopefully these steps will end those pesky calls from creditor’s third party collectors. If not, you may want to contact an attorney.
What if you think you do not owe the debt?
Within five days after you receive the first call from a third party collector, the third party collector must send you written notice. The written notice must include the name of the creditor to whom you allegedly owe the money, the amount of money owed, and that if you dispute the amount owed or think you do not owe the money, to send the third party collector written notice within thirty days.
If you send the third party collector written notice disputing the debt or stating that you do not owe it, the third party collector must cease contact until the third party collector provides you with proof of the debt.
About Persels & Associates
Persels & Associates, LLC, and its entities are pioneers in the field of offering "unbundled" legal services to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. As Americans credit debt rose, Persels & Associates bridged the "gap" between consumers and their debtors. Today, Persels & Associates employs over 150 lawyers in the 50 states and has 25 central office staff attorneys with over 40,000. For more information, please visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com.