Question: I think my debt collector is harassing me. What is the debt collector legally forbidden from doing to collect the debt?
Answer: The Federal Trade Commission publishes a guide for consumers that details exactly what debt collectors can and cannot do under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when they are attempting to collect the debt. The FDCPA applies to most consumer debts except those incurred in running a business.
Collectors may not:
- contact you at inconvenient times or places (such as early in the morning or late at night);
- harass you with threats of harm or obscene language;
- lie to you, such as about the amount you owe;
- tell you you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay;
- tack on extra interest that is not allowed under law;
- contact you at work if you’ve told them not to;debt co
- discuss your debt with anyone other than you, your spouse, or your attorney;
If a debt collector has violated the law, you can sue the collector in state or federal court within one year of the alleged violation. You can be compensated for any damages the debt collector’s actions caused, and you can also be awarded court costs, attorney’s fees, and $1,000.
And remember that California’s Rosenthal Act applies many of these same rules to the original creditor.