How Far Can a Debt Collector Go?

Americans may be struggling more than usual this summer because of the recent unprecedented events and business closures. Many are using their credit cards for basic needs and finding it more difficult to meet their financial obligations.

Creditors want their money, so they may enlist the services of a debt collector, which may be intimidating for a consumer who is struggling to make ends meet. But when does a debt collector go too far?

A department store or business may try for a few weeks to collect on a delinquent debt before turning the account over to a debt collector. Once a business or credit card company turns a customer over to a collection agency, the customer now has a different kind of battle to fight.

However, the customer also has the protection of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which places limits on the steps debt collectors may take to get consumers to pay.

For example, someone who calls from a collection agency may not claim to be a government agent investigating the consumer for fraud. A caller who threatens a consumer with criminal charges or arrest for an unpaid debt has stepped over the line. Consumers who are late on payments generally do not face charges unless they fail to show up for a legitimate court date for a lawsuit related to unpaid debt.

A debt collector may not violate the privacy of a delinquent customer by publicizing the debt or contacting friends, family, or co-workers of the customer. They cannot call late at night or early in the morning, and they are prohibited from using threats, profanity or harassment to get someone to pay.

Those across the country who are subjected to these and other unlawful actions or who are facing a lawsuit, wage garnishment or other issues because of delinquent debt may benefit from the quality representation of a skilled bankruptcy lawyer.