Prohibited Debt Collection Practices In The United
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In this article, we'll explain some of the restrictions
placed on debt collectors - including car dealers - by law, which
prohibits them from taking part in certain activities. If you
owe money, and a car dealer is calling to collect, read this article
to make sure that they're staying within the bounds of the law.
There are many common abuses made during collection attempts;
here are just a few of them:
- Debt collectors cannot contact you at an usual time (or place)
before 8 o'clock in the morning or after 9 pm.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you if they've already received
notification in writing that you refuse to pay the debt.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you if they've received notification,
again in writing, to cease all further communication.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you if they know you're represented
by an attorney.
- Debt collectors cannot contact your employer, friends or neighbors,
letting them know that they are collecting on a debt.
- Debt collectors cannot contact your employer, friends or neighbors
if they already have reached you at another personal telephone
As well, debt collectors are prohibited from using any threatening
language, in using violence or other criminal means to collect
a debt. This includes using profane or otherwise abusive language.
Also, and you might be especially happy to read this, debt collectors
are usually limited in the number of times they can contact you.
In other words, typically, they aren't allowed to call you repeatedly.
Debt collectors cannot contact you without disclosing their identity.
And again, if they make it clear that they're attempting to collect
on a debt, they have to limit contact to you, your attorney or
a credit bureau.
Often, debt collectors misrepresent themselves. They are not
allowed to misrepresent the amount of a debt, or legal status
of a debt. They aren't allowed to lead you to believe that the
caller is an attorney, or try to get you to believe that nonpayment
will result in imprisonment, financial seizure or garnishment.
Also, debt collectors cannot falsely claim that documents are
legal process when they're not.
Any collection attempt, whether its in writing or via voicemail,
needs to contain the following warning: "This is an attempt
to collect a debt. Communication is from a debt collector".
- Debt collectors cannot attempt to collect an amount not authorized
by the creditor - in this case, the car dealer company - or
permitted by law.
- Debt collectors cannot take or threaten to unlawfully repossess
and / or disable your property.
- Debt collectors cannot contact you via postcard, nor can they
display any information on an envelope indicating that the nature
of the correspondence is debt collection.
Here are some things you should do if you're contacted by the
car dealer or a debt collector for the purpose of collecting a
- Make sure to keep all correspondence.
- Make sure to save your voice mails and phone messages.
- Keep notes of your conversations when speaking with a debt
collector. Include the time and date of the call.
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