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There’s one thing above all else that debt collectors fear: an informed debtor. Some debt collection agencies resort to calling you at work, contacting you late at night or even phoning your family friends and neighbors to harangue you. They often circumvent the rules hoping that you won’t know any better or won’t contact someone who knows the law.

Thankfully, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) exists to outline the rules and regulations that debt collection agencies must follow. Now, keep in mind that the FDCPA only governs collection agencies, not in-house debt collection. With that in mind, here are a few of the most important things to know if you are being harassed:

  • Agencies cannot call you at unreasonable times. This means before eight in the morning and after nine o?clock at night.
  • Debt collectors are forbidden from making false statements about the amount of debt you owe.
  • They cannot misrepresent themselves as a government representative or attorney.
  • They absolutely cannot engage in harassing behavior such as threats of violence, repeated calls or profanity.
  • Bill collectors cannot threaten you with arrest or say that your wages will be garnished or your property will be sold, except in certain circumstances where the law allows it.
  • They are never allowed to add interest or fees that are not in the original agreement.

If you’re being inundated with collections calls for mortgage payments, credit cards or auto loans, an attorney may be able to stop them and help you deal with your creditors.

Source: FindLaw.com, “FAQs: How to Deal with Debt Collection Agencies,” retrieved May 9, 2015