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When do debt collection practices become illegal?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | Consumer bankruptcy |

When your debts begin to spiral out of control, you may find yourself fielding seemingly constant phone calls and communications from your creditors. Your creditors have a right to try to collect what you owe them. However, this does not give them free rein in terms of when, where and how they may contact you.

Per the Federal Trade Commission, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act outlines what debt collection practices are allowable and what tactics cross the line. Your creditors may be running afoul of the law if they engage in any of the following tactics when trying to collect what you owe.

Calling you during unreasonable hours

Debt collectors have to call you between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., period. They do not have the right to call you at all hours or interrupt your sleep provided you sleep during these standard hours.

Lie to you

Debt collectors also have to maintain transparency during their communications with you. For example, they may not tell you authorities are coming to arrest you for your unpaid debts if this is not actually true.

Add interest or fees to your debt (in most cases)

Unless there is a law or contract in place dictating otherwise, debt collectors may not tack on fees or interest to the amount you already owe.

Debt collectors also have to abide by a statute of limitations when attempting to collect the money you owe them. How long they have to do so depends on state laws and the type of debt you hold, among other possible determining factors.