If you owe a debt, creditors or the debt collectors they hire may try numerous tactics to find you and collect the debt.
This can be worrisome and stressful, but you must remember that there are laws and regulations that apply to debt collections.
Can creditors call you at any time or place?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act limits when and where companies and collections agencies can call you. They generally may not call before 8 AM, after 9 PM or at any time that they know is inconvenient for you.
Creditors can legally call you at work unless a policy in your workplace prohibits you from receiving these calls.
Can creditors contact your employer?
Creditors may contact your employer under certain circumstances. They may do so to verify your employment or, in the case of medical debt, your health insurance. They can also contact your employer to find out your location.
In most situations, the creditor must contact your employer in writing and wait 15 days for a response before calling. Creditors seeking to verify your employment and healthcare providers seeking to verify insurance may call without having to initiate contact by mail first.
Can creditors contact your family?
Generally, creditors may only contact your family to determine your location. Otherwise, they may not do so without permission from you or the court. However, they may contact your spouse or, if you are under 18, your parents.
Can creditors harass, intimidate or lie to you?
Creditors and debt collectors must identify themselves when calling. They may not falsely represent themselves or make false claims. Abusive language and threats are never acceptable.
Even if your debt is legitimate, creditors and collections agencies must act within the limits of the law when it comes to collecting it.