As a bankruptcy attorney in Cumming and Jonesboro, GA, my clients often come to me with horror stories of various humiliations that they’ve suffered at work, around their neighborhood, and even in their home at the hands of credit collection agencies.
The best way to avoid these issues is to know your rights under the law. Most reputable agencies will push the limit of the law—which can still be embarrassing for the debtor—without exceeding their mandate. However, some credit collectors will cross the line in the hope that the debtor is ignorant of their legal limits.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was developed to protect people who are being pursued by creditors for personal, family, and household debts, such as credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, and medical expenses.
- Debt collectors are not permitted to contact you outside the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Debt collectors are not allowed to call you at work if they have been told not to by you.
- FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from contacting third parties (employers, neighbors, family members, et cetera) more than once. Conversations must be restricted to obtaining information about you and your debt may not be discussed. Hiring a Georgia debt attorney can help with this matter. Once you’ve retained the services of a qualified attorney, he or she will be the contact person for your creditors.
Harassment – Debt collectors are strictly prohibited from making threats of violence, publishing your name on a list of people who refuse to pay debts, using obscenities or profanity, using the phone repeatedly to harass or annoy someone.
False Statements – Creditors can’t lie to induce you to pay your debt. For instance, they can’t pretend to be government officials, or claim that they work for a credit-reporting bureau like Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion.
Unfair Practices – Debt collectors are not allowed to attempt to collect fees in excess of what you contractually or legally owe, threaten to take your property unless it can legally be done in the Georgia courts, or contact you with an open postcard.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers many more practices that are considered “out of bounds” by the Federal Trade Commission. Your best line of defense in combating embarrassing and unlawful credit collections practices is to retain the services of a qualified Georgia credit counseling and bankruptcy attorney. Once you hire a lawyer, he or she becomes the point of contact for all creditors and collections agencies. Furthermore, your attorney can negotiate with your creditors more effectively.
If you are being pursued by creditors—whether or not you are considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy—you should contact an experienced Georgia debt-counseling attorney before your lenders and their agents have an opportunity to embarrass you with your family, friends, and coworkers.