Having a large amount of debt is undeniably overwhelming, and if you are among the many Americans who are finding themselves in this position, know that you are not alone. Medical bills often have the capacity to catapult even the most financially responsible people into uncomfortable situations, and the discomfort can be amplified by debt collectors who rely on aggressive methods to try and collect on your debts.
There is a fine line between aggressive debt collection tactics and illegal ones, however, and you do not have to put up with debt collectors who directly infringe upon your rights. Examples of illegal debt collection practices include:
A debt collector may not, for example, call you and identify themselves as working for a company other than that which employs them. They also cannot pretend to be attorneys or government officials if this is not, in fact, the case. Some collectors rely on such tactics in the hope of scaring you into submission, but they are still illegal.
Calling you at odd hours or at work, if told otherwise
Debt collectors also may not contact you whenever they please in an attempt to collect on your debt. Generally, this means they cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. If you receive calls from debt collectors at your place of business and you tell the debt collector you cannot take such calls during the workday and you continue to receive them, this, too, constitutes an illegal debt collection practice.
Debt collectors also may not use any tactics that might constitute harassment when trying to collect money from you. For example, they cannot use profanity or threats of violence against you, nor can they threaten to publicize your financial standing in some manner.
While these examples show some of the illegal debt collection tactics companies often use, this is not an exhaustive list. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act has more information about what techniques collectors cannot use to collect your debt.