A debt collector may be defined as a person or a company who collects debts that are owed to another entity. In most cases, these are debts that are past due. These are common in many credit card arrangements and other situations such as those involving foreclosure.
Thus, a debt collector may be seen as a third party in a lender-borrower arrangement, acting on behalf of the lender’s interests for a fee. This allows the lender to devote less of their own time and resources to collections efforts. They are sometimes referred to as debt collection companies, debt collection agencies, collections agencies or other similar titles.
What Are Some Examples of Unfair Debt Collection Practices?
Debt collection practices usually consist of attempts to try and contact the debtor and persuade them to make payments on their outstanding debt. In some cases, the debt collector may initiate legal proceedings to have the collections enforced. Debt collectors must abide by state and federal collections laws. Some examples of unfair debt collection practices include:
- Harassing or threatening the debtor
- Using offensive or abusive language towards the debtor
- Engaging in misrepresentation, or false/misleading statements
- Adding charges without proper authorization
- Misrepresenting certification or identification
Debt collection practices may not be the same for each type of situation. For instance, small businesses may sometimes choose not to hire debt collectors, as their business networks tend to be small and comprised of a close-knit group of acquaintances or even family members.
What If I Have a Legal Issue Involving a Debt Collector?
Debt collection lawsuits can be common, and may often involve a wide range of legal issues. In some cases, the debtor may actually have various options before becoming involved in a lawsuit. For instance, many laws allow a debtor to request that a debt collector refrain from contacting them. There may be limitations on this, but the debtor may have strong protections especially if the collection agency engaged in unfair practices.
Lastly, the debtor may wish to retain any contracts, forms, e-mails, and correspondences regarding the debt agreement. These may be used as evidence or references in the event that a lawsuit needs to be filed.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Debt Collector Disputes?
Debt collectors must abide by very strict state and federal guidelines. You may need to hire a lawyer if you believe that you have any type of legal issue or concern regarding debt collection. Your attorney can advise you of your rights and can also represent you during a lawsuit. Also, if you need to make an appearance in a court of law, your lawyer can be present to guide you through the process.