If one has fallen behind on bills, it’s possible that a debt collector has reached out in an attempt to collect the money owed. A debt collector is hired by a collection agency to recover money owed on a delinquent account.
Whether it was a medical bill that got tossed with other junk mail, or the post office didn’t forward an old bill, it’s important to deal with any collection notice. Our Miami debt defense attorneys are offering detailed information on how collection agencies function, so people know what to expect when their debt goes to collections.
What is Collection?
Collection is the process in which creditors seek payment from a delinquent debtor. A collection agency aggressively goes after debtors to collect money on behalf of the creditor. If a debtor fails to answer the creditor’s letters and phone calls, the bill will most likely be turned over to a collection agency, and the delinquent account will be reported to the credit bureau.
Collection Agency Tactics
Collection agencies are known to use very aggressive actions to collect money. However, these actions must not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA offers debtors protection against overly aggressive debt collection tactics by debt collectors and collection agencies.
Under the FDCPA, a collector or collection agency cannot:
- Use threats of violence or harm
- Contact a third party about the owed debt
- Use vulgar language
- Harass someone over the phone
- Falsely misrepresent themselves as attorneys or government officials
- Make false statements
- Declare that they will take illegal action if the debt is not paid back
Once a collector has contacted the debtor, they must disclose:
- Amount of debt
- Name of the creditor
- Timeframe in which the debtor can dispute the money owed
If a collection agency has violated the FDCPA, a debtor can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or sue the collection agency.
Talk to an Attorney
Being aware of what a debt collector can and cannot do will help protect a debtor from unfair practices used by agencies to collect the debt owed. We can help determine whether a creditor is violating the FDCPA and also guide our clients through the complicated legal process in the event that they are forced to go to court.