Financial challenges brought on by unemployment and a struggling economy have exposed many Arizonans to abuses by debt collectors and debt collection agencies. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted to control debt collection practices that Congress believed were responsible for personal bankruptcy and unwarranted turmoil in the personal lives of consumers.
Stopping debt collection abuses depends primarily on consumers knowing and exercising their rights when unpaid bills make them at risk of being contacted by debt collectors. For example, debt collectors may call a person during convenient hours, usually considered the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Collection calls to your place of employment are permitted as long as your employer does not prohibit you from receiving calls. In that case, you can stop the calls by informing the debt collector orally or in writing that such calls are not allowed.
Threats of physical harm or arrest, lies, misrepresentations, obscene language or harassment are prohibited. A debt collector who engages in such conduct should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If a person does not owe a debt, a letter should be sent to the collection agency within 30 days of being contacted about the debt. The letter should state the fact that the debt or a portion of it is not owed. Debt collection efforts must stop until the debt collector sends the consumer written verification that the debt is owed.
A bankruptcy attorney in Phoenix might be able to help a person to stop harassment from debt collectors. Personal bankruptcy can provide an automatic stay of collection efforts by creditors and debt collection agencies. It can also stop foreclosure and stop repossession during the bankruptcy.
Source: ABC 15, “Is it legal for a debt collector to call you at work?,” Rachael Mason, Jan. 4, 2013