FAQs – Collections & Collection Agencies
When you sign for a loan or other credit service you usually have to provide “references.” The purpose of the references are so that in the event the company you owe is unable to contact you, they have a source to attempt to obtain your new location/information. The company/collection agency is prohibited from disclosing that they are a collection agency, that you owe a debt, or any other personal information. It is common for the representative on the other end to simply state that they cannot divulge any details and/or that it is in regards to a business matter.
If the company/collection agency does divulge this information, then they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act §804, which states how information may be obtained about the debtor and what information can be shared to parties other than the debtor.
You can send a letter to the collection agency requesting that they no longer contact you at work or that they no longer contact you at all via the telephone. Simply send a letter (preferably via certified mail) to the agency or company you owe requesting that they cease and desist communications. If the collection agency fails to comply, then they will have violated the FDCPA §805(c).
(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or
property of any person.
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the
hearer or reader.
(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting
agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 603(f) or 604(3)1 of this Act.
(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.
(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously
with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
(6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the
Furthermore, §807 of the FDCPA states other actions that may not be taken by a debt collector or collection agency.
If you are truly having financial difficulties and explain this to the company/collection agency, then they may work out a deal with you. In addition, if you truly have financial difficulties and can only pay the partial payment, it would not look good for them by taking you to court. There would truly be no purpose in doing so. However, they would still have the legal right to do so. Not only do you legally owe the company, but it can also be considered breach of contract.
Any company that you owe or collection agency that is attempting to collect a debt on behalf of a company you owe must collect the debt in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Per the FDCPA §805(a)(1) it states that “…a debt collector shall assume that the convenient time for communicating with a consumer is after 8 o’clock antimeridian and before 9 o’clock postmeridian, local time at the consumer’s location;” In other words, the debt collector can only contact you between these hours.
Please note that this is your local time. I have seen collection agencies try act like it’s their local time and not the debtors. In this incident, the collection agency was located in California and was calling someone I know that lives in Louisiana. The call was placed at almost 10 PM local time. The collection agency attempted to say that it was still legal because it was not 9 PM their time yet. You can read the details of this section in “Communication in connection with debt collection”
You can notify a collection agency that you no longer want to be contacted. This does not get rid of the debt. It only stops the collection agency or company you owe from calling you. Simply send a letter (preferably via certified mail) requesting that they no longer call you. This is in accordance with the FDCPA §805(c).
Everyone knows that you can get an attorney and file suit against the collection agency, however, there are other things that you can do.
- Post your issue on RipOffReport.com [visit website]
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau [visit website]
- File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) [online complaint form here]
- File a complaint with the Attorney General of the state the agency or company resides in [state AG listing here]
The FTC may not initially act upon your complaint, however, the more people that file a complaint about a company, then the more evidence the FTC has to prosecute the unethical businesses.