There are a number of rules that debt collectors must follow when contacting you about a delinquent debt. Unfortunately, some collectors do not play by the rules and their threats can sound scary when they say them convincingly. In many cases, these unscrupulous collectors are trying to collect money that is not actually owed. Luckily, you can protect yourself if you know your rights and you can stop debt collector harassment with a minimum of hassle.
Know The Statute Of Limitations On Debt
In many states, there is a statute of limitations on debt that makes the debt uncollectible after a certain amount of time has passed. Depending on the state where you live, the statute of limitations for most consumer debts will be between four and six years. After this time period has passed, debt collectors cannot successfully sue to collect the debt. If the debt collector is calling about a very old debt or a debt that was discharged in the past, question the validity of the request and ask for the debt collection for validation that the debt is actually owed by you.
Ask To Have Debt Documentation In Writing
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you have the right to request documentation of any debt that a debt collector is attempting to collect. This documentation should include the name and location of the debtor along with the account number, the amount owed, and when the debt became delinquent. You should demand that the information be sent to you by mail so that you have a physical paper copy of the information. If the debt is uncollectible or the debt collector knows that they are doing something illegal, requesting the information in writing may be enough to stop their harassment.
You Cannot Be Held Accountable For A Family Member’s Debt
Some debt collectors go after the relatives of a debtor in an effort to get information about the debtor or scare the relatives into paying off the debtor’s debts. These calls typically include threats of legal action and other repercussions if the debt is not paid. Legally, you cannot be held accountable for anyone else’s debts unless you are a designated co-signer on the account. If you are getting calls about a family member’s debt, politely ask the debt collector to stop contacting you about the debt and if they continue, report them to the attorney general of your state and the Better Business Bureau.
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