What is debt collection?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

About debt collection

Debt collection is what can occur when a consumer falls behind on repaying a creditor. When that happens, the creditor may send someone to collect the money owed them. When consumers find themselves in this unfortunate situation, they should remember that they have certain rights.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which applies primarily to debt like credit cards and medical bills, will not erase any debt a consumer owes, but it does regulate the behavior of debt collectors and creditors who seek repayment. For one thing, it requires that any debt collectors treat consumers fairly.

A debt collector may not threaten or harass a consumer, falsely represent themselves, falsely imply that a consumer has committed a crime or will be arrested if the debt is not repaid, nor state that they will seize assets unless the creditor plans to do so and it is legal, nor collect more money than the actual debt.

A debt collector may contact a consumer in person, by phone or mail, at reasonable times of the day. If the consumer has an attorney, the debt collector must contact that person instead. For consumers having problems with a debt collector, the best course of action is to contact the state’s attorney general’s office and the Federal Trade Commission, to make a complaint and seek assistance.

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