The Do’s and Don’ts of Debt Collection

There’s a lot of talk about what collection agencies can and can’t do circling the collections industry. Much of this discussion is due to the increasing number of collection agency scams and harassment accusations out there. With shady practices such as these becoming the norm, it is no surprise that people are researching their rights to ensure that they are being treated fairly. The good news is that there are laws in place to regulate collection practices and prevent scenarios such as the ones mentioned above. These laws are known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

So What Exactly Can a Collection Agency Do?

While the FDCPA keeps collection agencies in check and prevents a lot of less than ethical collection tactics; Debt Collectors are not completely barred from contacting you in order to recoup some of the money you owe. It is their job after all. The following are legal methods with which a collection agency can attempt to collect a debt:

  1. They can contact you via phone or mail. Debt collectors have to have some way to get in touch with the people that owe money to their clients. Leaving messages on the telephone or sending notices through the mail are the accepted means to do this. If you would like to end collection calls, however, you can simply do this by requesting that the collector stop contacting you.
  2. They can send someone to your door. Although a generally outdated practice, collection agencies are allowed to send a representative to your doorstep to try to obtain payment. This method is rarely (if ever) used, however, as it is more efficient and cost-effective to call.
  3. They can charge interest and fees. If you’re behind on your payments, creditors are able to add on fees and interest as long as it was outlined in the original agreement you made with your creditor.
  4. They can call you at work, unless you have notified the debt collector that your employer does not allow such calls or the state prohibits it. If the collection agency has been notified, the FDCPA states that they must then cease to call you at your place of employment.

What a Collector Can’t Do

As mentioned above, the FDCPA was put in place to prevent harassment and debt collection scams. To find out more about what is and is not legal for collection agencies, check out the following articles: