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What Debt Collectors Can Do

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Have you missed payment on your credit card are now starting to receive calls from debt collecting agencies? Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. Debt collectors have limited powers. If they cross the line and start to lie, harass, or embarrass you, you can complain. Here are some of the practices that off limits for debt collectors. If you feel you have been wronged, complain immediately.

1. Threatening and harassment. Collectors can never use threats of harm or violence. For instance, they cannot try to scare you by saying that they will go after your kids if your do not pay what you owe. They also cannot use profane or obscene language, and must remain respectful at all times. They also cannot call you repeatedly for the sole purpose of annoying you, hoping that you will pay.

2. False statements. They cannot pretend to be lawyers or government representatives in order to intimidate you. They also can’t falsely state that by not paying, you have already “committed a crime.” If they are just debt collection agencies, they must admit to it; they cannot lie and say they are direct employees of your credit card’s issuing bank.

Collectors are also not allowed to scare you by saying that if you don’t pay, you will be arrested, or that your properties or wages will be seized. They can only say this if they are in fact already permitted by law to take such drastic actions and that they really intend to do so. Collectors also cannot threaten you with legal action if they don’t really intend to file a case.

3. Unfair practices. Debt collection agencies work on commission; if they get you to pay, they get a percentage of your money. However, some of unscrupulous agencies even go as far as to illegally make more money off you. Remember: They are NOT allowed to collect interests, fees, or charges on top of the actual amount you owe UNLESS your contract with your issuing bank allows such a kind of charge.

4. Embarrassment. Collectors cannot disclose the details of your debt to a third party. They may get in touch with other people – such as your co-workers or other members of your family – but only to get details such as your current address, phone number, etc. They cannot tell third parties about what you owe.

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