You know you have fallen behind on paying some bills, but that does not mean you actually owe the debt a collector has contacted you about. And even if you do, there are federal and state laws governing when and how often the debt collector can call, what he can say to you, and what information he must provide to you about the debt. Because so many people are not aware of their rights when it comes to debt collection, creditors and debt collectors often engage in abusive and harassing behavior when contacting people about debts.
What a Debt Collector Must Tell You
When a debt collector calls, he will likely tell you that you have a debt that his agency has purchased and that you now owe his company the money. He may try to get you to pay over the phone to settle the matter quickly. However, he is required by law to provide you with certain details about the debt in writing within five days of the first contact. This is called a debt validation notice and must include the name of the original creditor, the amount owed, and information about how to proceed if you do not think you owe the money. If the debt collector cannot provide this information, you may have cause to dismiss the debt and recover damages for harassment.
Why You Should Always Ask For Debt Verification
Even if you think the debt is legitimate, you should request verification for the following reasons:
- To verify that the debt is actually yours
- To make sure the person calling you is authorized to collect the debt
- To confirm you have not already paid
- To force the debt collector to prove that he has the original documents
You are within your rights to request debt verification, but you must do so in writing. You do this by sending the debt collector a letter in which you dispute all or part of the debt and request the name of the original creditor. Our experienced consumer protection attorneys can help in the writing of your debt validation letter. Contact us online or call us directly at 855.982.2400. We are happy to help people protect their rights under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.