In Minnesota and throughout the nation, it's common for people to acquire loans in order to make large ticket item purchases. For instance, while it's possible you are one of the few people who pay cash in full when buying vehicles or homes, it's far more likely that you have taken or plan to take out loans to do so. In fact, you might use credit to pay for any number of expensive services or products, such as medical bills or business expenses.
Although you are obligated to pay back any debt you accrue, you also have rights that protect you against unlawful means of debt collection. If your financial train is currently a bit off its tracks, and you're dealing with non-stop phone calls from people who claim to be trying to collect a debt, you may want to familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It's also a good idea to know where to seek support if your situation escalates and you need some assistance.
Basic facts regarding the FDCPA
The FDCPA covers your personal, as well as household or family debts. The following information explains how the FDCPA protects you from those who work for companies that regularly attempt to collect debts owed to other people:
- It is not necessarily unlawful for a collection agency to contact you by phone, via postal mail or in person. However, there are specific rules against certain types of collection attempts within those parameters.
- The FDCPA states that debt collectors must not inconvenience you by time or place when attempting to collect a debt. As for time, all debt collection phone calls must take place after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. Regarding location, it would be considered inconvenient for a collections agent to show up at your workplace to collect a debt.
- If your employer has a rule against collections agencies contacting employees at work, debt collectors must abide by the employer's protocol.
- If you have asked a debt collector to stop contacting you and your request has gone unmet, you may write a letter to make your request official. Reception of such a letter means the debt collector must adhere to the request contained therein.
- Any form of harassment, such as verbal threats or publicly sharing your debt information, is unlawful.
- A debt collector may not falsify identity or information when contacting you to attempt to collect a debt. This sometimes occurs when a collections agent represents himself or herself as a government agent or attorney, or otherwise misrepresents information, paperwork or facts having to do with your debt.
If you do write a letter to stop all contact from a collections agency, it's critical that you understand that this does not eliminate a valid debt. The debt will still exist even though the collections contacts will cease. There are often options to obtain debt relief when the amount of your debt outweighs your ability to pay.
It's not a one-size-fits-all type of situation, however, so it often helps to seek outside assistance from someone who can provide experienced guidance. Many Minnesota residents have fought against unlawful debt collection and have overcome serious financial crises by relying on attorneys well versed in bankruptcy and debt relief laws for support.