People who are behind on their debts are often stressed, busy and low on money. This does not seem like a very good time for them to receive threatening or harassing phone calls. Unfortunately, for debtors in Florida and other states, this is often the very time that these calls come. There are several ways to handle calls from a debt collector, whether they are harassing or not.
Many debtors often take an “ignore it and it will go away” stance on these calls. This approach will not help, however, and can end up making things worse. In some cases, the calls may not even be legitimate. The collection agency could actually be trying to reach someone else and simply have the wrong contact information. In more sinister cases, it could be a person perpetrating fraud, calling to collect on a debt that is fake.
Under the Fair Debt Protection Practices Act, a person has the right to be given an official proof of the debt. This proof must include the name of the person or company to whom the debt is owed. In order to avoid the collector taking further action, a person must respond by writing to the debt collector within 30 days. The debt collectors must be able to prove that the money is owed by the debtor.
Debt collectors are not allowed to call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. They are not allowed to threaten, oppress or harass the debtor. Calls at work are frowned upon, and if the debtor requests it in writing, the collector must stop calling altogether. Once bankruptcy has been filed, a collector cannot try to collect on the debt in any way.
Anyone in Florida who is being harassed by a debt collector, or who is receiving phone calls about debts that he or she owes but cannot afford to pay, may benefit from speaking with a bankruptcy attorney. This type of lawyer can help guide the debtor in the best choices for their particular case. A person should only provide financial information to their attorney and never give it to anyone over the phone.
Source: whnt.com, “How to handle debt collectors when they call“, Elizabeth Garcia, Aug. 26, 2017