The debt slowly fades from your mind. The “It will go away” mentality shatters the day a third party debt collector sends you a letter stating the agency intends to collect the debt for the creditor. Can a debt collector send you materials to collect a debt?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Consumers had little, if any recourse against aggressive third part debt collectors prior to September 20, 1977. On that day, the United State Congress passed the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The landmark law does not prohibit third party debt collectors from attempting to collect a debt for a creditor. What the legislation does is to prohibit third party debt collectors from abusing and threatening consumers, as well as implementing deceptive debt collection techniques.
Other Legal Stipulations of the FDCPA
The FDCPA applies to family, personal, and household debt. Some common debts that third party debt collectors attempt to collect include student loans and delinquent credit card balances. Debt collectors can attempt to contact consumers by phone or through the United States Postal Service. You have the legal right under the FDCPA to request a third party debt collector refrain from contacting you.
How to Stop a Debt Collector from Contacting You by Mail
If you receive materials from a debt collector that include a letter asking for payment of a debt, you can try to resolve the issue or send a certified letter to the debt collector asking the debt collector to stop sending materials by mail. Make sure you pay for a return receipt to confirm the debt collector received the certified letter. After reception of the certified letter, the debt collector cannot contact you again except under two circumstances. First, the debt collector can send you a letter stating there will be no more attempts to contact you about the debt. The other exception to the no contact rule involves contacting you to tell you a lawsuit is imminent.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
You should contact an attorney who specializes in consumer protection law when a debt collector violates any part of the “no contact” provision written into the FDCPA. Violations include contacting you more than one time after reception of a certified “no contact” letter, as well as contacting you to continue debt collection efforts. If a debt collector sends you an abusive or threatening letter, you have physical proof the debt collector violated the FDCPA.
Here are some examples of when you should contact an attorney after receiving materials from a debt collector:
- The use of bad language that attacks your character
- Threats to garnish wages
- Physical threats
- Promise to accept less than what you owe (Only the original creditor can do this)
- Use abusive language such as “Time is running out on you”